The mediating role of self-regulation on the link between child maltreatment and later substance use among Latinx youth

Daniel K. Cooper, John M. Felt, Alexa Riobueno-Naylor, Betty S. Lai, Mayra Y. Bámaca, Diana Fishbein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Children who experience maltreatment are at heightened risk for substance use initiation and mental health disorders later in life. Few studies have assessed the relationship between child maltreatment and substance use among Latinx youth. Objective: The current study assessed the potential mediating effect of three aspects of self-regulation (emotional, behavioral, and cognitive) on the association between child maltreatment and substance use and examined whether effects varied depending on maltreatment type and severity. Participants and setting: This study involved a random sample of 504 Latinx youth (52 % girls, 48 % boys) between the ages of 10–12 at the start of the study. Methods: Study hypotheses were tested through structural equation modeling and bootstrapped random errors using the R programming language. Results: Our results indicated that higher levels of child maltreatment predicted higher levels of later substance use, as mediated by emotional and behavioral dysregulation (β = 0.09, p < 0.01), but not cognitive regulation. When separating maltreatment by subtype, we found the mediating effect was present for abuse (β = 0.09, p < 0.01), but not neglect. Conclusions: Findings contribute to our understanding of potential causal mechanisms for the association between child maltreatment and substance use for Latinx youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106151
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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