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Previous research has established a link between adolescent’s perceived daily hassles and subsequent adjustment, but less is known about factors that exacerbate this relationship. The purpose of the present study was to identify if adolescent’s reluctance to express emotions moderated the association between their perceived daily hassles and subsequent substance use (i.e., alcohol, marijuana, tobacco). Cross-sectional data were obtained from a larger study that examined the effects of exposure to community violence among low-income, urban adolescents (N = 260, Mage = 14.14, SD = 1.62 years; 92% African American; 54% female). Linear regression analyses controlling for adolescent age, biological sex, and previous levels of drug use and daily hassles revealed that expressive reluctance moderated the association between perceived daily hassles and adolescent substance use. Specifically, for adolescents who were least likely to express their emotions, increases in perceived daily hassles were associated with significant increases in substance use. Further examination of domain-specific hassles revealed that expressive reluctance moderated the effects of academic, parental, and general neighborhood hassles on drug use, while no significant effects were detected for hassles related to friends or neighborhood danger. The present findings clarify which perceived daily hassles adversely affect adolescents, and how emotional expression can play an integral role in determining risk for poor coping behaviors.
Adolescent, Expressive Reluctance, Substance Use, Daily Hassles, Daily Stressors, Substance Abuse, Risk, Internalization
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Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D.
David W. Sosnowski, M.S.
Kristina McGuire, M.S.
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