Do Parent-Adolescent Discrepancies in Family Functioning Increase the Risk of Hispanic Adolescent HIV Risk Behaviors?
Methods: A total of 746 Hispanic 8th grade youth and their primary caregivers participated in the present study. Self-report measures included past 90-day and lifetime alcohol and illicit drug use, early sex initiation and unprotected sex, and family functioning indicators (i.e., family communication, parent-adolescent communication, positive parenting, parental involvement, family cohesion and parental monitoring of peers). First, a univariate regression analysis was conducted to examine differences in the discrepancy scores of family functioning indicators between youth who did and did not engage in HIV risk behaviors. Second, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to collapse each indicator of family functioning onto a latent construct. Lastly, structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted to examine whether and the extent to which parent–adolescent family functioning discrepancies (i.e., parent minus adolescent scores) were significantly related to adolescent-reported past 90-day and lifetime alcohol and drug use, early sex initiation and unprotected sex behaviors.
Results: Univariate regression analysis indicated that adolescents who reported illicit drug use both in their lifetime and past 90 days had higher parent-adolescent discrepancies on all family functioning indicators, with the exception of parental peer monitoring. Additionally, youth who reported having drank alcohol both in their lifetime and past 90 days had higher parent-adolescent discrepancies on measures of parental involvement, family cohesion and parent-adolescent communication. Adolescents who reported early sex initiation and unprotected sex behavior had higher parent-adolescent discrepancies on parental involvement and positive parenting. SEM findings indicate that higher latent family functioning discrepancies were significantly related to a higher likelihood of youth engaging in lifetime (OR= 1.068; 95% CI= 1.044, 1.093) and past 90-day (OR= 1.089: 95% CI= 1.059, 1.12) illicit drug use, lifetime (OR= 1.056; 95% CI= 1.022, 1.090) and past 90-day (OR= 1.053; 95% CI= 1.016, 1.091) alcohol use, and early sex initiation (OR= 1.042; 95% CI= 1.015, 1.07).
Conclusions: Findings indicate that parent-adolescent discrepancies in family functioning are associated with an increased risk of engaging in HIV risk behaviors among Hispanic adolescents. Family-based interventions aimed at reducing parent-adolescent family functioning discrepancies might be efficacious in reducing and preventing HIV risk behaviors in Hispanic adolescents.