The importance of family factors to protect against substance use related problems among Mexican heritage and White youth

Albert M. Kopak, Angela Chia Chen Chen, Steven A. Haas, Mary Rogers Gillmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Introduction: This study examined the ability of family cohesion, parental control, and parent-child attachment to prevent adolescents with a history of drug or alcohol use from experiencing subsequent problems related to their use. Methods: Data came from Wave I and Wave II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and included Mexican heritage and White adolescents who reported alcohol use (n=4894, 25% prevalence) or any other drug use (n=2875, 14% prevalence) in their lifetime. Results: Logistic regression results indicate greater parent-child attachment predicted lower risk of experiencing drug use problems (OR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.77-0.98) while stronger family cohesion predicted lower odds of experiencing drug- (OR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.70-0.97) or alcohol-related (OR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.65-0.84) problems. Parental control was also negatively associated with odds of problems related to drug use (OR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.86-0.99) or alcohol use (OR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.90-0.99). Results also indicated family cohesion was the only protective factor for Mexican heritage youth while family cohesion and parent-child attachment were protective among White youth. Parental control protected White female adolescents from drug use problems more than males. Mexican heritage male adolescents experienced more protection from drug problems compared to females. Conclusion: Findings highlight the need for prevention interventions to emphasize parent-child attachment for White youth and family cohesion for both Mexican-heritage and White youth to decrease adolescent substance users' drug- and alcohol-related problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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