Gender Differences in the Salience of Psychosocial Mediators of the Impact of Acculturation on Substance Abuse among Hispanic Youth in Florida
Objectives A number of psychosocial factors have been identified as mediators of the impact that acculturation exerts on adolescent drug use. We sought to evaluate gender differences in mediators of the impact of acculturation on substance abuse. Methods We used t-test and logistic regression to analyze data collected from 8,200 adolescent students who self-identified as Hispanic during the 2004 Florida Youth Substance Abuse. The dependent variable was past 30 day use of marijuana and the key independent variable was language spoken at home. The covariates were 32 risk and protective (R/P) factors for drug use as defined by the Social Development Strategy framework. Results For boys, the ORs associated with language changed significantly with the addition of any of the R/P factors to their basic model, while for girls only the addition of the Individual domain factors significantly changed the ORs. Discussion and conclusion These findings suggest that among boys the interventions that target any or all of the R/P factors may be able to positively alter the drug using behaviors among boys. In contrast, only the interventions that reinforce girls’ innate strengths may succeed in dissuading them from initiating and perpetuating drug use. This information can be used to develop policies and interventions geared toward preventing drug problems among the growing group of adolescent of immigrant descent.
KeywordsSubstance use Adolescent substance abuse Immigrant health
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