Cultural Impact On Substance Use Among Youth: Evidence From Chinese Immigrant Families in New York City
Methods: We utilized the 2009 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey data. In this study, 536 participants reported having at least one parent born in China, were used analyzing as the NYC sample of Chinese youth. Acculturation was measured using language use at home, length of U.S. residency and having one U.S. born parent. Lifetime substance use was conceptualized as the consumption of illegal drugs (marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and inhalant). We conducted univariate analysis to examine the prevalence and correlates of substance use among Chinese youth. Logistic regression was used to examine the effects of acculturation by using indicators of acculturation on lifetime substance use controlling for other individual and household characteristics.
Results: Among all the Chinese youth in this study, 12.8% of them have ever used some kind of substance in their life. Acculturation had effects on lifetime substance use among Chinese youth. English use at home and having one U.S. parent were positively associated with the likelihood of lifetime substance use among Chinese youth. Chinese youth from English-speaking household were 1.69 times more likely to use substance during their life than those from Chinese-speaking household. Youths having one U.S. born parent were 3.56 times more likely to use substance than those who don’t have U.S. born parent. Male Chinese youth were more likely to use substance than female Chinese youth. Age was not statistically significantly associated with substance use.
Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is one of the very first studies to examine the relationship between acculturation and substance use among youth from Chinese immigrant families. Preventions or treatments for Chinese youth on substance use should take their acculturation level into account. Chinese culture could be a protective factor of substance use among youth. A stronger identification with Chinese culture might provide some protection against substance involvement. For future study, researchers should explain the mechanism of cultural impact.