Parental influence on Hispanic adolescent substance use



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Texas Tech University


The purpose of the present study was to add to the research geared toward meeting the needs of ethnic minority families. The rapidly increasing population of Hispanics has been met with a gap in research between the needs of the Hispanic community and the ability of mental health providers to provide culturally competent services. The lack of information on Hispanic families may contribute to less cultural competence and further discrimination. In many cases, there is not sufficient training of mental health professionals to prepare them for working with Hispanic families. Therefore, it is important to add to current knowledge of ethnic and otherwise diverse populations and promote cultural competence among marriage and family therapists. Specifically, the goal of the study was to identify parental risk or protective factors for substance use among Hispanic adolescents. The secondary analysis used data from portions of the larger Youth and Family Project data set. The research analyzed parental influence on Hispanic adolescent substance use. Structural Equation Modeling was the principle statistical procedure used for analyzing the data. The parenting protective factors focused on in the present study included Parent Limit Setting, Father’s and Mother’s Monitoring, Parent-Adolescent Relationship, Father’s and Mother’s Acceptance/Support, and Parental Involvement in Peer Relationships. The parenting risk factors focused on in the present study included Parent-Adolescent Conflict, Father’s and Mother’s Inconsistence Control, Father’s and Mother’s Harsh Discipline, and Father’s and Mother’s Laissez-Faire.

The present study used a subsample comprised of Hispanic participants (N=840) drawn from the larger Youth and family Project sample of 2214 adolescents in 9-12th grades from west Texas area school districts. Respondents in the Hispanic subsample included 359 males and 480 females with one missing value. The sample was made up of 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders with a mean age of 16.1 years (SD = 1.1). The Final Model contained 13 parenting-related latent constructs and one standalone indicator representing adolescent substance use. The standalone indicator included alcohol use, marijuana use, hard drug use, and tobacco use. Goodness of fit tests suggested the final model to be a good fit.

The results of this study suggested that the positive parenting factors of Parent Limit Setting and Mother’s Monitoring, as perceived by Hispanic adolescents, were significant protective factors against Hispanic adolescent substance use. Additionally, the negative parenting factors of Parental Laissez-Faire and Parent-Adolescent Conflict, as perceived by the Hispanic adolescents, were significant risk factors for Hispanic adolescent substance use. Furthermore, the reduction of these significant negative parenting factors may be facilitated by increasing the significant positive parenting factors. Moreover, some unexpected findings revealed that positive parenting factors seemed to have more of an impact on Hispanic adolescent substance use than did negative parenting factors, and mothers’ parenting factors seemed to have more of an impact on Hispanic adolescent substance use than did fathers’ parenting factors.



Drugs, Parents, Adolescents, Hispanic, Structural equation modeling (SEM)