Family Structure and Substance Use Among American Indian Youth: A Preliminary Study

Lonczak, Heather S.; Donovan, Dennis M.; Fernandez, Anne; Marlatt, G. Alan; Austin, Lisette
March 2007
Families, Systems & Health: The Journal of Collaborative Family ;Mar2007, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p10
Academic Journal
This study examines relationships between both family structure and living with extended family, and substance use among 97 American Indian/Alaska Native (Al/AN) adolescents. Findings demonstrate an increased likelihood of alcohol initiation and regular tobacco use among those in single-parent versus original two-parent homes; and an increased likelihood of marijuana initiation among those in both single parent and nonparent family member homes versus original two-parent homes. The significant link between residing in a single- parent versus an original two-parent home and alcohol and marijuana initiation remained after controlling for parenting practices. There was also a positive association between cohabiting extended family and youth tobacco initiation. It is suggested that living in an original two-parent home may be an important protective mechanism among this group of Al/AN youth. Findings pertaining to extended family and tobacco initiation also suggest that a closer look at cohabiting kinships and youth substance behavior within Al/AN families is needed.


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