Ecodevelopmental Perspectives on Substance Use Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Social work researchers have demonstrated the utility that ecological approaches, including the ecodevelopmental framework, have in developing a fuller understanding on the etiology of substance use among racial and ethnic minorities (Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992; Williams, Ayers, Garvey, Marsiglia, & Castro, 2012). From this perspective, individuals are imbedded in interrelated and interconnected contexts that influence and are influenced by the individual over time (Bronfenbrenner, 1992). These contexts range from the microsystem (e.g., individual acculturation and family factors), the most proximal system to the individual, to the macrosystem (e.g., discrimination), the most distal to the individual. Equally important , this framework is grounded in a developmental perspective such that individuals may be at increased risk of engaging in substance use behaviors during certain developmental periods (e.g., adolescence and young adulthood). Although researchers have shown the ways in which ecodevelopmental factors, including acculturation, family and discrimination, influence substance use behaviors among racial and ethnic minorities, few researchers have examined these factors utilizing longitudinal designs or with nationally representative samples.
The proposed symposium advances social work research and practice in this regard. In the first paper, we examine acculturation profiles using a national representative sample. More specifically, we employ a cluster-based study design with latent profile analysis to examine the links between acculturation profiles, discrimination, and substance use disorders among Hispanics in the United States. In the second study, we examine the effects of family functioning on African American adolescent substance use. More specifically, we employ a longitudinal design (i.e., over four years) using growth mixture modeling to link developmental trajectories of family functioning to substance use among African American adolescents. In the third study, we model the heterogeneity of perceived everyday-discrimination experiences among latent subgroups of African American and Caribbean Blacks and identify differences in the prevalence of substance use behaviors.
The proposed symposium advances social work research in at least three ways: First, we employ cutting-edge methodological and statistical approaches, including latent profile analysis and growth mixture modeling, to develop a better understating of the ecodevelopmental factors influencing substance use among racial and ethnic minority populations. Second, in two of the studies we utilize nationally representative samples to examine factors associated with racial and ethnic minority substance use. Finally, in one study, we use a longitudinal multivariate design to examine ecodevelopmental family factors on adolescent substance use behaviors over time. Social work practice and policy implications will be discussed in the context of ecodevelopmental theory.