The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 30, Issue 3–4, pp 315–333 | Cite as

Acculturation and Substance Use Among Hispanic Early Adolescents: Investigating the Mediating Roles of Acculturative Stress and Self-Esteem

  • Byron L. Zamboanga
  • Seth J. Schwartz
  • Lorna Hernandez Jarvis
  • Kathryne Van Tyne
Original Paper


We examined the extent to which Hispanic orientation and American orientation are associated with substance use (cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana) both directly and indirectly through acculturative stress and self-esteem. Participants were 347 Hispanic early adolescents (50.7% male; mean age = 12.57, SD = 0.92, range 11–15) from two middle schools in western Michigan. Findings showed that self-esteem emerged as the most consistent predictor of likelihood and extent of substance use. Ethnic identity was positively related to risk for substance use, and acculturative stress and self-esteem mediated the relationships of Hispanic cultural orientation to alcohol use. Self-esteem was the most important protective factor against substance use, and as such, we conclude that prevention programs designed to address precocious substance use that incorporate a self-esteem building component could prove useful among Hispanic early adolescents residing in monocultural contexts within the United States.


Hispanic Acculturation Ethnic identity Self-esteem Acculturative stress Substance use 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Byron L. Zamboanga
    • 1
  • Seth J. Schwartz
    • 2
  • Lorna Hernandez Jarvis
    • 3
  • Kathryne Van Tyne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA
  2. 2.University of MiamiMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Hope CollegeHollandUSA

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