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Family Influences on Youth Alcohol Use: A Multiple-Sample Analysis by Ethnicity and Gender

NCJ Number
Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse Volume: 2 Issue: 2 Dated: 2003 Pages: 17-33
Susan C. Duncan Ph.D.; Terry E. Duncan Ph.D.; Lisa A. Strycker M.A.
Date Published
17 pages
This article examines the effects of demographic and family influences on alcohol use among White and African-American youth.
Family members’ alcohol use exerts an indirect effect on youth alcohol use through its impact on family relations and parenting practices. Youth alcohol use was hypothesized to be influenced by the child’s age, family income, parent status (single vs. two parents), parent alcohol use, sibling alcohol use, and family cohesion. Effects of family income and parent status on parent alcohol use, sibling alcohol use, and family cohesion, also were included in the model, along with relations between family demographic variables and youth alcohol use. A four-group multiple-sample structural equation model was used to examine whether differences in means and/or structural relations existed across the four groups. Data were collected from youth and families in a metropolitan city in the Northwest. Families were randomly recruited via telephone using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing system. As part of the study design, the stratified sample (by age, gender, race, and neighborhood) consisted of families having African-American or White target children ages 9, 11, or 13. The study found that older age, and higher parent and sibling alcohol use were associated with greater youth alcohol use. For three of the four groups, two-parent families had lower levels of reported sibling alcohol use, supporting results of other research on adolescent alcohol use among youth family members. In all groups, two-parent families reported more cohesion, and higher income was related to more parent alcohol use. Income was related to cohesion in only the White female group where higher income families reported more cohesion. The findings suggest that separated and divorced families seem to have more negative outcomes than do intact families. Few differences across subsamples were found for effects on the target youths alcohol use. 1 figure, 2 tables, 52 references