Hispanic kids show greater risk of substance use

September 01, 2010

Hispanic middle school students may be more likely to smoke, drink or use marijuana than their peers of other races and ethnicities, whereas Asian students seem to have the lowest risk, according to new research in the September issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The study, of 5,500 seventh- and eighth-graders at 16 California schools, found that young Hispanic adolescents were more likely than other students to have ever used alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana. Asian students, meanwhile, had the lowest rates of substance use compared with Hispanic, white and African American students.

Moreover, the study found that some of the factors that seemed to influence kids' odds of substance use also varied by race and ethnicity.

Among Hispanic youth, it was personal factors that were linked to the risk of substance use -- including their confidence in their ability to "say no" and whether they believed drinking, smoking and drug use had more negative consequences.

In contrast, a wider range of factors was linked to Asian teens' relatively low rates of substance use -- not only those same personal-level factors but also respect for their parents and lower rates of substance use among their older siblings and peers.

The findings point to some important issues that could be addressed in substance-use prevention programs for middle school students, according to Regina A. Shih, Ph.D., and colleagues at the research organization RAND Corporation.

"Most interventions haven't really been tailored to be culturally appropriate," Shih explained. For example, "skills training," where kids learn how to resist pressure to smoke, drink or use drugs, could help address one of the personal factors that was connected to Hispanic students' higher rates of substance use.

Similarly, interventions that encourage positive parent-child communication and boost kids' sense of responsibility to their parents might help maintain lower rates of substance use -- and could be particularly effective for young Asian teens.

Shih said, however, that the researchers are not suggesting that such targeted efforts only be offered to students of certain ethnicities -- but that they could be widely applied in prevention programs to help the broadest range of kids possible. Many existing interventions target these types of personal factors and address adolescent and parent communication. "It is important for parents to be aware that many youth initiate substance use during the middle school years, and parents can help their teen make healthier choices by monitoring their activities and talking with them about these issues," Shih said.

Of all students in the study, 22 percent said they had ever used alcohol, 10 percent admitted to smoking at some point, and 7 percent reported marijuana use. In general, the odds of substance use were highest among Hispanic students, lowest among Asians and not statistically different between white and African American students.

When it came to drinking, for example, 26 percent of Hispanic students said they had ever tried alcohol, versus 21 percent of black students, 18 percent of whites and just below 10 percent of Asians.

When the researchers accounted for several other factors -- including gender and students' family structures -- Hispanic middle schoolers still had a higher probability, and Asian students still had a lower probability, of ever using cigarettes, alcohol or marijuana, compared with white students.

Using this large longitudinal sample, Shih's team will be able to continue to follow young adolescents over time to see which personal, family and school factors seem to predict the initiation or worsening of teens' smoking, drinking or drug use.
-end-
This study was funded by a diversity supplement and is part of a larger intervention project funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (led by Dr. Elizabeth D'Amico).Shih, R. A., Miles, J. N. V., Tucker, J. S., Zhou, A. J., & D'Amico, E. J. (September 2010). Racial/Ethnic Differences in Adolescent Substance Use: Mediation by Individual, Family, and School Factors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 71 (5), 640-651.

www.jsad.com/jsad/link/71/640

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

Related Alcohol Articles from Brightsurf:

Alcohol use changed right after COVID-19 lockdown
One in four adults reported a change in alcohol use almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were issued: 14% reported drinking more alcohol and reported higher levels of stress and anxiety than those who did not drink and those whose use stayed the same.

Changes in hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder in US
Changes over nearly two decades in the rate of hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths from alcohol use disorder in the US were examined in this study.

Associations of alcohol consumption, alcohol-induced passing out with risk of dementia
The risk of future dementia associated with overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced loss of consciousness in a population of current drinkers was examined in this observational study with more than 131,000 adults.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

Does estrogen influence alcohol use disorder?
A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that high estrogen levels may make alcohol more rewarding to female mice.

Sobering new data on drinking and driving: 15% of US alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities involve alcohol under the legal limit
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier, found that motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) below the legal limit of 0.08 percent accounted for 15% of alcohol-involved crash deaths in the United States.

Alcohol-induced deaths in US
National vital statistics data from 2000 to 2016 were used to examine how rates of alcohol-induced deaths (defined as those deaths due to alcohol consumption that could be avoided if alcohol weren't involved) have changed in the US and to compare the results by demographic groups including sex, race/ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status and geographic location.

Cuts in alcohol duty linked to 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England
Government cuts to alcohol taxes have had dramatic consequences for public health, including nearly 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England since 2012, according to new research from the University of Sheffield's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).

Integrated stepped alcohol treatment for people in HIV care improves both HIV & alcohol outcomes
Increasing the intensity of treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) over time improves alcohol-related outcomes among people with HIV, according to new clinical research supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet:Targets to reduce harmful alcohol use are likely to be missed as global alcohol intake increases
Increasing rates of alcohol use suggest that the world is not on track to achieve targets against harmful alcohol use, according to a study of 189 countries' alcohol intake between 1990-2017 and estimated intake up to 2030, published in The Lancet.

Read More: Alcohol News and Alcohol Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.