Degree Name

DrPH (Doctor of Public Health)


Public Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Megan Ashley Quinn

Committee Members

Robert Pack, Liang Wang, Ying Liu


The lifetime prevalence of alcohol in the United States is 8% and lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use is about 2-3%. Substance use is common among adolescents and polysubstance use is becoming a public health threat.

The prevalence of adolescent physical dating violence was 8.2%, the prevalence of adolescent sexual violence was also 8.2% while the prevalence of dual adolescent physical and sexual violence was 2.6%. Compared to those who used only single substances, adolescents who did not use any substance were 60% less likely (OR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.24 – 0.74) to experience physical dating violence, 50% less likely (OR = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.31 – 0.66) to experience sexual dating violence and 70% less likely (OR = 0.34, 95% CI = 0.16– 0.69) to have experienced both physical and sexual dating violence.

The prevalence of adolescent criminal arrests was 17.2%. Adolescents who combined select illicit drugs with alcohol were 1.7 times more likely to be arrested (OR = 1.66 ,95% CI = 1.49 – 1.85). Adolescents who used both select illicit drugs and marijuana were 1.5 times (OR = 1.55, 95% CI = 1.46 – 1.65) more likely to be arrested than those who used only select illicit drugs. Also, adolescents who used all three substances (select illicit drugs, alcohol and marijuana) were 1.6 times (OR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.50 – 1.75) more likely to be arrested than those who used only select illicit drugs.

The prevalence of weapon-related injuries was 7.4%. Adolescents who did not use substances were 50% less likely (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.29 – 0.75, p

The odds of dating violence, criminal arrests and weapon-related were higher with polysubstance use than with either mono-substance or no substance use. Therefore, prevention of substance use may be beneficial in reducing these public health concerns.

Document Type

Dissertation - embargo


Copyright by the authors.