Abstract: Substance Abuse Treatment Program Use among Asian-American Adolescents (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

131P Substance Abuse Treatment Program Use among Asian-American Adolescents

Saturday, January 16, 2010
* noted as presenting author
David L. Albright, MSW , Florida State University, Doctoral Student, Tallahassee, FL
Christopher Joseph Hayton, MSW , Florida State University, Doctoral Student, Tallahassee, FL
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Asian-Americans are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States representing 5% of the total population, or approximately 14.9 million people (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). Research has identified that drug and alcohol abuses are problems for Asian-Americans (Chi, Lubben, & Kitano, 1989; Varma & Siris, 1996). Makimoto (1998), however, found that Asian-American adolescents have lower rates of alcohol consumption and are at lower risk for substance abuse than other non-Asian ethnic groups. A recent literature review of risk-taking behaviors among Asian-American adolescents found that males use alcohol more than females (Tosh & Simmons, 2007). Asian-American adolescents remain, however, one of the least understood and neglected ethnic minority groups (Chen, 2006). This study hypothesizes that the proportion of individuals that use substance abuse treatment programs is higher among females than among males across Asian-American subgroups’ (Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and Korean) adolescents.

METHODS: The data for this study are drawn from the first wave (N = 6504) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Harris & Udry, 2008), a nationally representative sample of 7th through 12th grade students in the United States. Respondents completed in-school questionnaires in the fall and spring of 1994 and 1995 and in-home interviews approximately one year later. A subsample of Asian-American (n = 261) respondents with non-missing data on analysis variables is used. Fisher’s exact test is used to calculate an exact probability value for the relationships between Chinese-American (n = 59), Filipino-American (n = 54), Japanese-American (n = 33), Korean-American (n = 37), gender (48.1% female), and use of substance abuse treatment programs (3.7%). The findings are weighted to the general population.

RESULTS: The results suggest that substance abuse treatment programs are used more by Filipino-American females than males (P = 0.05 by Fisher’s exact test). Substance abuse treatment programs are independent of gender in Chinese (P = 0.68 by Fisher’s test), Japanese (P = 0.74 by Fisher’s exact test), and Korean (P = 0.57 by Fisher’s test) subgroups.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: This exploratory study highlights the need for further exploration on subgroup variability and differences in Asian-American adolescents’ use of substance abuse treatment programs. The lack of empirical information limits social work’s ability to develop culturally competent theory and effective substance abuse treatment programs.