Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Don Jones


Substance abuse, once primarily visible in the U.S. adolescent male population, is an increasing concern for the adolescent girls' population. Mental health challenges, behavioral problems, and academic failure are issues adolescent girls may encounter when they engage in substance abuse. The incidence and impact of drug use on female students' academic and social development at a large suburban school district was unknown. Vygotsky's social development theory and Bandura's social learning theory provided the framework for this cross-sectional survey study that addressed the relationships between adolescent girls' drug use and their academic performance and social development. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance were used to examine data from the Dane County Youth Assessment Survey. The sample included the study district's adolescent girls' population consisting of 9,061 students. Results indicated significant relationships between girls' adolescent drug use and social development and academic performance. Increased drug use was related to lower social development and lower academic achievement. Results were used to develop an adolescent girls' drug prevention program that addressed the effects drugs have on adolescent girls' academic and social development. Implications for positive social change include providing a prevention program to the local district that may help inform adolescent girls so they can make healthier decisions in social settings.