Competence and drug use: Theoretical frameworks, empirical evidence and measurement Article

Lindenberg, CS, Solorzano, R, Kelley, M et al. (1998). Competence and drug use: Theoretical frameworks, empirical evidence and measurement . JOURNAL OF DRUG EDUCATION, 28(2), 117-134. 10.2190/VVC5-4MLM-892Q-V6EB

cited authors

  • Lindenberg, CS; Solorzano, R; Kelley, M; Darrow, V; Gendrop, SC; Strickland, O



  • Statistics show that use of harmful substances (alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine) among women of childbearing age is widespread and serious. Numerous theoretical models and empirical studies have attempted to explain the complex factors that lead individuals to use drugs. The Social Stress Model of Substance Abuse [1] is one model developed to explain parameters that influence drug use. According to the model, the likelihood of an individual engaging in drug use is seen as a function of the stress level and the extent to which it is offset by stress modifiers such as social networks, social competencies, and resources. The variables of the denominator are viewed as interacting with each other to buffer the impact of stress [1]. This article focuses on one of the constructs in this model: that of competence. It presents a summary of theoretical and conceptual formulations for the construct of competence, a review of empirical evidence for the association of competence with drug use, and describes the preliminary development of a multiscale instrument designed to assess drug protective competence among low-income Hispanic childbearing women. Based upon theoretical and empirical studies, eight domains of drug protective competence were identified and conceptually defined. Using subscales from existing instruments with psychometric evidence for their validity and reliability, a multi-scale instrument was developed to assess drag protective competence. Hypothesis testing was used to assess construct validity. Four drug protective competence domains (social influence, sociability, self- worth, and control/responsibility) were found to be statistically associated with drug use behaviors. Although not statistically significant, expected trends were observed between drug use and the other four domains of drag protective competence (intimacy, nurturance, goal directedness, and spiritual directedness). Study limitations and suggestions for further psychometric testing of the instrument are described.

publication date

  • January 1, 1998

published in

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 117

end page

  • 134


  • 28


  • 2