Friday, February 5, 2016

Parental Support, Mental Health, and Alcohol and Marijuana Use in National and High-Risk African-American Adolescent Samples

African-American adolescents experience disproportionate rates of negative consequences of substance use despite using substances at average or below-average rates. Due to under-representation of African-American adolescents in etiological literature, risk and protective processes associated with their substance use require further study. This study examines the role of parental support in adolescents’ conduct problems (CPs), depressive symptoms (DSs), and alcohol and marijuana use in a national sample and a high-risk sample of African-American adolescents. In both samples, parental support was inversely related to adolescent CPs, DSs, and alcohol and marijuana use. CPs, but not DSs, partially mediated the relation of parental support to substance use. Results were consistent across the national and high-risk samples, suggesting that the protective effect of parental support applies to African-American adolescents from a range of demographic backgrounds.

...This study demonstrated that African-American adolescents who report more supportive parenting experience lower levels of DSs, CPs, marijuana use, and alcohol use. This was equally true in the SCHOO-BE sample, who are at high risk for mental health and substance use problems due to high rates of prenatal substance exposure, poverty, custodial changes, and violence exposure, and in the national sample of African-American adolescents from the MTF study. Our findings are consistent with previous work that has demonstrated the power of supportive parenting for high-risk African-American adolescents and with studies that have found that CPs but not DSs are associated with alcohol and marijuana use.,

Our findings add to the literature in two respects. First, they demonstrate the role of reduced CPs as a mediator of the previously identified protective effect of parental support on adolescent alcohol and marijuana use. Adolescents who feel more supported by their parents have lower levels of CPs, and those who have lower levels of CPs use less alcohol and marijuana. Second, our results provide further evidence that parental support is protective against mental health problems and alcohol and marijuana use even in families that face high levels of familial and contextual risk. Thus, parental support is an important target for preventive interventions with African-American adolescents, including high-risk samples. Several authors have highlighted the need to identify mediators of the effects of culturally relevant variables on developmentally important outcomes, such as alcohol and marijuana use,, particularly existing protective processes, such as supportive parenting, which can be leveraged in prevention programs. Leveraging the family may be particularly important given that African-American adolescents are less likely than White adolescents to receive school-based substance use prevention. Successful prevention will help to reduce more serious consequences in adulthood, including substance abuse disorders, criminal involvement, and financial instability in adulthood., Prevention programs for African-American adolescents are more important than ever because the prevalence of marijuana use by this population has increased in recent years, while the overall national prevalence of marijuana use by eighth graders has decreased. In 2003, the first of the three years included in the current study, 13.0% of African-American eighth graders reported marijuana use during the past year, a prevalence comparable to the overall national prevalence of 12.8% among all racial and ethnic groups. In 2014, the prevalence of marijuana use among African-American eighth graders had risen to 13.2%, while the overall national prevalence of marijuana use among eighth graders had dropped to 11.7%. The prevalence of alcohol use among African-American eighth graders has historically been and remains lower than the national average (17.8% and 20.8%, respectively). Additional research on the effects of parental support in the current context of more prevalent marijuana use is warranted...

Full article at:

1Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, Population Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA.
2Department of Psychology, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
3College of Nursing, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA.
4Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
5Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
6Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
7Department of Pharmacy Practice, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
8Department of Family Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
9Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
CORRESPONDENCE: Email: ude.saxetu.nitsua@ykswolsam

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