Titled 'The Influence of Risk-Taking Behaviors on the Transition into Marriage: An Examination of the Long-Term Consequences of Adolescent Behaviour', the study was conducted on the data collected over 12 years.
The study, by University at Buffalo sociologist Sampson Lee Blair, Ph.D., is a rare look at the long-term effects of teen delinquency and drug abuse on adult role attainment.
Delinquency was defined as anti-social behaviour, including frequency of running away, arrests, physical fights and behavioural problems in school.
In the study, researchers analysed data from a U.S. Department of Education survey collected from a nationally representative sample of 9,813 young adults from 1988 to 2000.
Blair said that the results are significant, because in the U.S. marriage is commonly regarded as offering substantial economic, social and health advantages for individuals.
The vast majority of high school girls, which is quite above than the number of boys, tend to view marriage as "extremely important" to them.
However, adolescent substance abuse and delinquent behaviours clearly have far-reaching consequences for the marital status of young adults, particularly girls, he said.
He added: "Most previous studies have focused on the relatively short-term effects of adolescent substance use and delinquency, but here we find good evidence that, for both sexes, delinquent behavior is linked to an increase in the likelihood of marriage and a lower age at first marriage. On the other hand, adolescents with relatively high levels of abuse of alcohol and marijuana have a lower likelihood of marriage even by their late 20s.
"The likelihood of marriage by that age is substantially lower among female adolescent substance abusers, particularly if the substance abused is marijuana."
In his opinion, the results suggest that delinquency and substance abuse may influence adolescents' orientation toward other adult roles as well.
The results were presented at the conference of the Eastern Sociological Society in Baltimore, Md. (ANI)