The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Alcohol Use Among Latina/o Early Adolescents: Exploring the Role of the Family

Friday, January 17, 2014
HBG Convention Center, Bridge Hall Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Javier F. Boyas, PhD, Assistant Professor, Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, OH
Flavio Francisco Marsiglia, PhD, Foundation Professor of Cultural Diversity, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Danielle Robbins, PhD, Biostatistician, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Background and Purpose: Although rates of alcohol use have recently decreased among all adolescents in the U.S., the same cannot be said among Latina/o youth.  Recent studies show an increase in alcohol consumption among Latina/o early adolescents.  Thus, there continues to be a need for research that explores factors that are associated with preventing alcohol use among Latina/o early adolescents. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether changes in alcohol use over time varied across intervention conditions.  Controlling for alcohol consumption at baseline, parental monitoring, family structure, acculturation level, and refusal self-efficacy, we hypothesized that the effects of a culturally-based parent education intervention would strengthen the effects of youth-only intervention because of the parent component.  

Method: The study design consisted of a randomized three-group repeated measures study.  The current study used Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the child data from both cohorts.  Nine middle schools in a Southwestern city were stratified into three blocks in accord with the percentage of Latina/o students in each school and were then randomly assigned to a treatment condition.  As for condition assignment, 131 were randomly assigned to the Parent-Youth condition, while 164 were in the Youth-Only condition.  The Parent-Youth condition received a youth and parent curriculum, while the Youth-Only condition just received the youth curriculum. Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression was used to test our hypothesis.  The analysis was computed using Stata 10.0. To control for the effect that substance use at wave 1 may moderate the effects of the intervention; an interaction term was created by multiplying the measure of substance use at wave 1 by the treatment condition. 

Results:  The results show that the interaction term of the youth who received the parental and youth components was significantly associated with lower rates of alcohol consumption at Wave 2 (b = -.29, p < .05).  Additionally, alcohol use at wave 1 (b = .71, p < .05) and a family member offering the youth alcohol were significantly associated with increased alcohol use at Wave 2 (b = .15, p < .01), while parent(s) not allowing a youth to do what the youth wants was significantly associated with decreased alcohol use (b = -.20, p < .01). The overall model was significant (F = 17.59, p < .001) and the predictor variables explained 30% of the variance in alcohol use in Wave 2. 

Conclusion: The findings suggest that prevention efforts that include a parent component that is culturally grounded could be a more effective strategy to help Latina/o youth refrain from alcohol use than youth-only programs.   This approach might be more valuable with Latina/o adolescents given that the family unit within the Latina/o context has been shown to be a critical socialization agent that imparts values and behaviors.  As evidenced by our results, the family can play a considerable role in the development of adolescent prosocial and antisocial behaviors.