Healthy families, religious involvement buffer youth against risk factors related to drug abuse

Jul 20, 2010
Race/ethnicity is shown on the horizontal axis and the percentage using illicit drugs in the past month is shown on the vertical axis. Credit: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services

American-Indian adolescents continue to have the highest rates of illicit drug use among all ethnic groups. Although previous research has found that increasing adolescent exposure to protective factors can reduce their risk for substance abuse, this has not been thoroughly examined in American-Indian adolescents. Recent findings from a University of Missouri study reveal that positive family relationships and religious affiliation can counteract risk factors - including addicted family members, exposure to violence and deviant peers - associated with drug use.

"For American-Indian youths, our study suggests that intervention and prevention programs should consider a supportive family environment as an important focus," said ManSoo Yu, assistant professor in the MU School of Social Work and Public Health Program. "Healthy relationships protect adolescents against exposure to violence and negative social environments, and therefore, may lower their risk for drug involvement. Practitioners also can encourage adolescents to connect with religious organizations, which can reduce negative peer influence and increase positive ."

In the study, Yu examined the mediating roles of positive environment (healthy families and religious affiliation) on the associations between negative environment (addicted family members, deviant peers and negative school environment) and illicit drug symptoms. Identifying mediators can help clarify interrelationships among various risk and protective factors in predicting health-risk behaviors, Yu said.

Yu found that positive family relationships mediated the impact of addicted family members, violence victimization and negative school environment on illicit drug symptoms. The findings expand prior research that indicates healthy families protect adolescents from delinquent behaviors, including drug problems. Further, religious affiliation mediated the impact of deviant peers and negative school environment on positive family relationships.

Yu also found that addicted family members and deviant peers directly predicted , while positive family relationships and mediated their impact on drug use. The results are consistent with previous findings that poor familial environment (notably, family members' substance problems) and misbehaving friends are strong predictors of substance problems in youths.

"Establishing effective treatment and prevention plans requires a greater understanding of the complex associations between negative and positive variables in predicting substance use disorders such as nicotine dependence and alcohol and drug abuse," Yu said. "It is clear that strategies to help youths with drug problems can be more effective by addressing family, school and peer contexts."

The rate of illicit drug use among American-Indian adolescents age 12-17 is approximately 19 percent, significantly higher than rates for Whites, Blacks and Hispanics (around 10 percent) and Asians (6.7 percent), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Explore further: New insights into eyewitness memory from groundbreaking replication initiative

More information: The study, "Positive family relationships and religious affiliation as mediators between negative environment and illicit drug symptoms in American Indian adolescents," was published in the July issue of Addictive Behaviors.

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freethinking
1 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2010
healthy family again shown to protect children. What a surprise! Only progressives would find this study results amazing.

Government and society should encourage and support traditional healthy families. But then, there would be less need of government and we cant have that.
frajo
5 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2010
Only progressives would find this study results amazing.
You are wrong. Instead of serving the treadmill of your ideology you could (I'm not sure whether you really could) start pondering why so many American-Indian and why so few Asians?
marjon
1 / 5 (4) Jul 21, 2010
Culture is key. Those American Indians on reservations live in a perpetual welfare state. Some tribes were less 'civilized' and have not adapted to modern life.
The Cherokee, did not accept a reservation and have adapted much better.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
Culture is key. Those American Indians on reservations live in a perpetual welfare state. Some tribes were less 'civilized' and have not adapted to modern life.
The Cherokee, did not accept a reservation and have adapted much better.
It is far more likely that their culture is more accepting of hallucinogenics and other substances that allow for introspection while traditional western society abhors such substances. Culture is key, but not due to technological advancement and technological integration into culture.
frajo
5 / 5 (3) Jul 21, 2010
Some tribes were less 'civilized' and have not adapted to modern life.
The American-Indian tribes have been victims of a historical genocide. What you call "modern life" is a life imposed on them by hostile invaders. Their cultures have been recklessly destroyed. They'll need several more centuries and a general decline of "the American way of life" before they'll recover.
Bob_B
5 / 5 (3) Jul 21, 2010
@marjon
You forget: What we call Americans were terrorists to the natives present when the slaughters and herding of people like sheep began.

Maybe you don't live in a state with reservations all around, but you are comparing apples and oranges.
Welfare State? This country put them there and has kept them there. What do you expect, that each tribe/person discovers buried treasure and leaves to live next door to you?

You need to visit reservations and learn American history, geez.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 21, 2010
I am from SD. I have seen reservations.
Indians are free to leave reservations.
natives present when the slaughters and herding of people like sheep began.

They did the same to each other. Indians were not saints, just too slow to adapt to superior technology.
marjon
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
"Comparison of Drug Use Rates for Reservation Indian, Non-Reservation Indian and Anglo Youth." http://www.eric.e...EJ454944
Government dependence does not have positive effects. Similar situtions occur with aboriginal populations in NZ and Australia.
frajo
not rated yet Jul 24, 2010
natives present when the slaughters and herding of people like sheep began.

They did the same to each other. Indians were not saints, just too slow to adapt to superior technology.
The most interesting part of your comment is the compelling conclusion that you would be quite quick to adapt to any "superior" force by forgetting, if necessary, all the values you have adhered to before you would have been victimized.
marjon
not rated yet Jul 24, 2010
natives present when the slaughters and herding of people like sheep began.

They did the same to each other. Indians were not saints, just too slow to adapt to superior technology.
The most interesting part of your comment is the compelling conclusion that you would be quite quick to adapt to any "superior" force by forgetting, if necessary, all the values you have adhered to before you would have been victimized.

What values?
Should the USA and Canada allow Muslims to practice their 'values' of Sharia law?
American Indians are US citizens and have all the rights and responsibilities that entails.
frajo
not rated yet Jul 24, 2010
Let's wait whether you are the only one who doesn't understand my comment.
marjon
not rated yet Jul 24, 2010
Let's wait whether you are the only one who doesn't understand my comment.

How far back in history do you want to condemn 'invaders'?
BTW, American Indians captured members of other tribes forcing them to live their way. They also invaded each other's territory wiping out weaker tribes.
We have seen what people will do when invaded and have new 'values' imposed. They either accept and embrace those values because they are better or they resist.
US citizens are now resisting the new socialist 'values' being imposed.