The role of school engagement in preventing adolescent delinquency and substance use: A survival analysis

Yibing Li, Wei Zhang, Jianjun Liu, Miriam R. Arbeit, Seth J. Schwartz, Edmond P. Bowers, Richard M. Lerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations


The present study was designed to examine the effects of school engagement on risky behavior in adolescence. Using data from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (PYD), a longitudinal study of U.S. adolescents, discrete-time survival analyses were conducted to assess the effect of behavioral and emotional school engagement on the initiation of drug use and delinquency. The current analyses used seven years of longitudinal data collected from youth and their parents. Results of discrete-time survival analysis indicated that, controlling for demographic variables, higher degrees of behavioral and emotional school engagement predicted a significantly lower risk of substance use and involvement in delinquency. Substance use prevention programs and other health-risk reduction programs should include components (i.e., adolescents' participation in and emotional attachment to school) to capitalize on the protective role of the school context against youth risk behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1192
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011



  • Adolescence
  • Delinquency
  • Positive Youth Development
  • School engagement
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology

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