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