Perceiving the risk of substance use: The roles of nativity, acculturation, and family support among Hispanic children

Tara D. Warner, Christopher P. Krebs, Diana H. Fishbein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The prevalence of substance use behavior and the personal characteristics and social and cultural factors that influence substance use among children have been studied extensively. However, much less attention has been directed at the attitudes towards, and particularly the perceived risks of, using substances, and even less research has focused on Hispanic youth, whose rates of substance use have been increasing. Understanding what factors are associated with perceived risk is important because there is evidence that perceived risk is associated with subsequent substance use. The current study uses longitudinal data collected from 553 children in the Cicero Youth Development (CYD) Project to identify individual and environmental factors associated with the perceived risk of substance use. We pay particular attention to dimensions of nativity and acculturation in an effort to determine whether there are differences in risk perception between U.S.-born Hispanic children and their foreign-born counterparts. Results indicate that a number of factors are associated with perceived risk, including family support, parent-child communication, peer substance use, and child temperament. Additionally, U.S.-born Hispanics perceive substances as less risky than immigrants, and among immigrants, length of time in the U.S. is negatively associated with perceiving great risk in substance use. Implications for policy and prevention strategies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-147
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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