Faculty Mentor

Darren L. Wheelock


Christina Nelson is a junior majoring in social welfare and justice with a minor in sociology. Christina is a participant in the Educational Opportunity Program. She enjoys acrylic painting. After graduation in May 2016, she plans to enroll into a PhD program in communications, culture, media studies or sociology.



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Previous work has indicated that young men and women engage in drug use in different ways and for different reasons. This research tests Hagan’s Power-Control Theory to examine gender differences in adolescent drug use. This study analyzes randomly selected subsample of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Questions that led this study were: Do patterns of drug abuse differ by gender? To what extent can Hagan’s Power-Control Theory explain this? Control variables looked at gender, age and race. All adolescents were from the ages of 12-17. Dependent variables looked at drug use (ever, yearly, monthly). Drugs examined were: marijuana, cocaine, crack, heroin, methamphetamines, pain relievers (not medically obtained), and any illicit drug. Instrumental variables looked at parental monitoring in order to apply Power-Control Theory. Employing bivariate tests of association, this study finds that there is inconsistent support between certain types of adolescent drug use and Power-Control Theory. There were no gender differences in drug use. Variables that proved to be statistically significant were: Parents Check if Homework is Done, Parents Limit Time with Friends, and Amount Adolescents Argue with Parents.

Publication Date

Fall 2014


Gender, Drug Use, Power-Control Theory


Substance Abuse and Addiction

Christina Nelson - Applying John Hagan’s Power-Control Theory to Gender Differences with Drug Abuse