Patterns of Young Adult Social Roles Transitions Across 24 Months and Subsequent Substance Use and Mental Health

Megan E. Patrick, Isaac C. Rhew, Jennifer C. Duckworth, Melissa A. Lewis, Devon Alisa Abdallah, Christine M. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Young adults experience social role transitions across multiple life domains, and a deeper understanding of the ways in which these simultaneous transition experiences are associated with substance use and mental health will inform targeted interventions for this population. Data from the current study include24 repeated monthly assessments of young adults (N = 778; 56% female; age range 18 to 24 at baseline; 60% White, 18% Asian, 12% Multiracial, 5% Black or African American, 1% American Indian, 1% Pacific Islander, 3% Other, 9% Latinx) and outcomes 6 months later. Monthly assessments across 2 years were used to identify latent classes of frequency of social role transitions in four key domains (education, residential, employment, and romantic relationships) and associations between these classes and later outcomes. Three classes of social role transitions were identified: Infrequent Transitions (30.4%), Transitions except in Relationships (38.5%), and Frequent Transitions (31.1%). Compared to the Infrequent Transitions class, the other classes had greater typical drinking and hazardous alcohol use six months later; the Frequent Transitions class also had more hazardous cannabis use, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms. Young adults experiencing frequent transitions across multiple domains appear to be at risk for substance use and mental health problems and may benefit from targeted intervention to address substance use and mental health issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-880
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Alcohol
  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Cannabis
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Latent class analysis
  • Young adult


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