ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (8): 1237-1245.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.01237

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The adolescent substance addiction based on the gateway theory

YANG Ling; CAO Hua; GENG YinFeng; XU Jing ; ZHANG Yan; SU BoBo   

  1. (School of Psychology, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China)
  • Received:2015-12-01 Online:2016-08-15 Published:2016-08-15
  • Contact: YANG Ling:E-mail:yang


There is considerably concern regarding adolescent addiction behavior and numerous research have investigated the mechanism underlying substance abuse. The “Gateway theory” proposes that the development of addiction in adolescents can be defined as model of sequential stages of involvement in drugs which begin with legal drugs and proceeds to other illicit drugs. The concept of progression in drug use has been supported by empirical research. On the basis of previous research, this review found that although evidence support the developmental processes of drug use suggested by the Gateway theory, there are some uncertainties, for example, unstable sequences of progression across classes of drugs, the limitation of explanation scope, lack of integration between underlying mechanism and various influencing factors. Future research need to investigate the internal mechanism of the sequence effect with a wide range of sample and classes of drugs.

Key words: The Gateway theory, adolescent, substance addiction