Prevention Science

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 397–410

Applying General Strain Theory to Examine Perceived Discrimination’s Indirect Relation to Mexican-Heritage Youth’s Alcohol, Cigarette, and Marijuana Use

  • Jennifer A. Kam
  • Michael J. Cleveland
  • Michael L. Hecht
Article

Abstract

Latent growth curve modeling was used to test four hypotheses. First, this study hypothesized that acculturation-related variables (e.g., Mexican-heritage youth’s country of origin, time spent in the U.S., and language preference with family and friends) would be associated with initial levels of perceived discrimination. Guided by general strain theory (GST), this study then posed a second hypothesis: Initial levels of perceived discrimination would be indirectly related to initial levels of substance use through initial levels of acculturation stress. Third, this study hypothesized that changes in perceived discrimination would be indirectly related to changes in substance use through changes in acculturation stress. As a fourth hypothesis, it was postulated that initial levels of perceived discrimination would be indirectly related to changes in substance use through changes in acculturation stress. Mexican-heritage youth (N = 1,106) from 29 schools in Phoenix, AZ completed surveys at six waves from 5th through 8th grades. In partial support of the first hypothesis, more time spent in the U.S. and speaking English with friends were associated with lower levels of perceived discrimination. The second hypothesis was not supported. Initial levels of perceived discrimination were positively associated with initial levels of acculturation stress; however, this association was not found between initial levels of acculturation stress and substance use. The third and fourth hypotheses were supported, which buttressed predictions derived from GST. Both initial levels and increases in perceived discrimination were indirectly related to increases in substance use through increases in acculturation stress.

Keywords

General strain theory Perceived discrimination Substance use Mexican-heritage youth Latent growth curve modeling 

References

  1. Agnew, R. (2001). Building on the foundation of general strain theory: Specifying the types of strain most likely to lead to crime and delinquency. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 38, 319–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agnew, R., & White, H. R. (1992). An empirical test of general strain theory. Criminology, 30, 475–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agnew, R., Brezina, T., Wright, J. P., & Cullen, F. T. (2002). Strain, personality traits, and delinquency: Extending general strain theory. Criminology, 40, 43–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ajayi, L. J. (2006). Multiple voices, multiple realities: Self-defined images of self among adolescent Hispanic English language learners. Education, 126, 468–480.Google Scholar
  5. Araújo, B. Y., & Borrell, L. N. (2006). Understanding the link between discrimination, mental health outcomes, and life chances among Latinos. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 28, 245–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Aseltine, R. H., Jr., Gore, S., & Gordon, J. (2000). Life stress, anger and anxiety, and delinquency: An empirical test of general strain theory. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 41, 256–275.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Barr, D. (2005). Early adolescents’ reflections on social justice: Facing history and ourselves in practice and assessment. Intercultural Education, 16, 145–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berry, J. W. (1998). Acculturation and health: Theory and research. In S. S. Kazarian & D. R. Evans (Eds.), Cultural clinical psychology: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 39–57). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Brezina, T. (1996). Adapting to strain: An examination of delinquent coping responses. Criminology, 34, 39–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Broidy, L. (2001). A test of general strain theory. Criminology, 39, 9–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Broidy, L., & Agnew, R. (1997). Gender and crime: A general strain theory perspective. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 34, 275–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Castro, F. G., Barrera, M., Jr., & Martinez, C. R., Jr. (2004). The cultural adaptation of prevention interventions: Resolving tensions between fidelity and fit. Prevention Science, 5, 41–45.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Cavanagh, S. E. (2007). Peers, drinking, and the assimilation of Mexican American youth. Sociological Perspectives, 50, 393–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cleveland, M. J., Gibbons, F. X., Gerrard, M., Pomery, E. A., & Brody, G. H. (2005). The impact of parenting on risk cognitions and risk behavior: A study of mediation and moderation in a panel of African American adolescents. Child Development, 76, 900–916.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Codina, G. E., & Montalvo, F. F. (1994). Chicano phenotype and depression. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 16, 296–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Collins, L. M., & Graham, J. W. (2002). The effect of the timing and spacing of observations in longitudinal studies of tobacco and other drug use: Temporal design considerations. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 68, S85–S96.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Compas, B. E., Hinden, B. R., & Gerhardt, C. A. (1995). Adolescent development: Pathways and processes of risk and resilience. Annual Review of Psychology, 46, 265–293.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Cuéllar, I., Arnold, B., & Maldonado, R. (1995). Acculturation rating scale for Mexican Americans-II: A revision of the original ARSMA scale. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 17, 275–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. DeGarmo, D. S., & Martinez, C. R., Jr. (2006). A culturally informed model of academic well-being for Latino youth: The importance of discriminatory experiences and social support. Family Relations, 55, 267–278.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Delgado, M. Y., Updegraff, K. A., Roosa, M. W., & Umaña-Taylor, A. J. (2009). Discrimination and Mexican-origin adolescents’ adjustment: The moderating roles of adolescents’, mothers’, and fathers’ cultural orientations and values. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. doi:10.1007/s10964-009-9467-z
  22. Dilman Carpentier, F. R., Mauricio, A. M., Gonzales, N. A., Millsap, R. E., Meza, C. M., Dumka, L. E., et al. (2007). Engaging Mexican origin families in a school-based prevention intervention. Journal of Primary Prevention, 28, 521–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dumka, L. E., Mauricio, A. M., & Gonzales, N. A. (2007). Research partnerships with schools to implement prevention programs for Mexican origin families. Journal of Primary Prevention, 28, 403–420.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Duncan, T. E., & Duncan, S. C. (1995). Modeling the processes of development via latent variable growth curve methodology. Structural Equation Modeling, 2, 187–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Edwards, L. M., & Romero, A. J. (2008). Coping with discrimination among Mexican descent adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 30, 24–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Eitle, D., & Turner, R. J. (2003). Stress exposure, race, and young adult male crime. Sociological Quarterly, 44, 243–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Elek, E., Miller-Day, M., & Hecht, M. L. (2006). Influences of personal, injunctive, and descriptive norms on early adolescent substance use. Journal of Drug Issues, 36, 147–172.Google Scholar
  28. Finch, B. K., & Vega, W. A. (2003). Acculturation stress, social support, and self-related health among Latinos in California. Journal of Immigrant Health, 5, 109–117.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Gee, G. C., Ryan, A., Laflamme, D. J., & Holt, J. (2006). Self-reported discrimination and mental health status among African descendants, Mexican Americans, and other Latinos in the New Hampshire REACH 2010 initiative: The added dimension of immigration. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1821–1828.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Gibbons, F. X., Yeh, H.-C., Gerrard, M., Cleveland, M. J., Cutrona, C., Simons, R. L., et al. (2007). Early experience with racial discrimination and conduct disorder as predictors of subsequent drug use: A critical period hypothesis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 88, S27–S37.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Gil, A., Vega, W. A., & Dimas, J. (1994). Acculturative stress and personal adjustment among Hispanic adolescent boys. Journal of Community Psychology, 22, 43–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Graham, J. W. (2009). Missing data analysis: Making it work in the real world. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 549–576.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Graham, J. W., Flay, B. R., Johnson, C. A., Hansen, W. B., Grossman, L. M., & Sobel, J. L. (1984). Reliability of self-report measures of drug use in prevention research: Evaluation of the Project SMART questionnaire via the test-retest reliability matrix. Journal of Drug Education, 14, 175–193.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Greenbaum, P. E., & Dedrick, R. F. (2007). Changes in use of alcohol, marijuana, and services by adolescents with serious emotional disturbance: A parallel-process growth mixture model. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 15, 21–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Guilamo-Ramos, V., Jaccard, J., Johansson, M., & Turrisi, R. (2004). Binge drinking among Latino youth: Role of acculturation-related variables. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 18, 135–142.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Hecht, M. L. (1998). Introduction. In M. L. Hecht (Ed.), Communicating prejudice (pp. 3–23). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. Hecht, M. L., Graham, J. W., & Elek, E. (2006). The drug resistance strategies intervention: Program effects on substance use. Health Communication, 20, 267–276.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Hecht, M. L., & Krieger, J. L. (2006). The principle of cultural grounding in school-based substance abuse prevention. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 25, 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Higgins, G. E., & Gabbidon, S. L. (2009). Perceptions of consumer racial profiling and negative emotions: An exploratory study. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36, 77–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hox, J. J., & Maas, C. J. (2001). The accuracy of multilevel structural equation modeling with pseudobalanced groups and small samples. Structural Equation Modeling, 8, 157–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hughes, D. (2003). Correlates of African American and Latino parents’ messages to children about ethnicity and race: A comparative study of racial socialization. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31, 15–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2007). Monitoring the Future: National results on adolescent drug use. National Institute on Drug Abuse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH Publication No. 08–6418.Google Scholar
  43. Kaufman, J. M., Rebellon, C. J., Thaxton, S., & Agnew, R. (2008). A general strain theory of racial differences in criminal offending. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 41, 421–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Leidy, M. S., Parke, R. D., Cladis, M., Coltrane, S., & Duffy, S. (2009). Positive marital quality, acculturative stress, and child outcomes among Mexican Americans. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 833–847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. López, F. A. (2009). Developmental considerations and acculturation of children: Measures and issues. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 31, 57–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Marin, G., Sabogal, R., Marin, B. V., Otero-Sabogal, R., & Perez-Stable, E. J. (1987). Development of a short acculturation scale for Hispanics. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, 9, 183–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Marsiglia, F. F., & Hecht, M. L. (1998). Personal and interpersonal interventions. In M. L. Hecht (Ed.), Communicating prejudice (pp. 287–301). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  48. McGinley, M., Carlo, G., Crockett, L. J., Raffaelli, M., Torres Stone, R. A., & Iturbide, M. I. (2010). Stressed and helping: The relations among acculturative stress, gender, and prosocial tendencies in Mexican Americans. Journal of Social Psychology, 150, 34–56.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Mena, F. J., Padilla, A. M., & Maldonado, M. (1987). Acculturative stress and specific coping strategies among immigrant and later generation college students. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 9, 207–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Miller-Day, M. (2008). Talking to youth about drugs: What do late adolescents say about parental strategies. Family Relations, 57, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Moradi, B., & Risco, C. (2006). Perceived discrimination experiences and mental health of Latina/o American persons. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 411–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2007). Mplus user’s guide (5th ed.). Los Angeles: Authors.Google Scholar
  53. National Survey of Latinos (2002). National survey of Latinos: Summary of findings. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center and Menlo Park, CA: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.Google Scholar
  54. Pérez, D. M., Jennings, W. G., & Gover, A. R. (2008). Specifying general strain theory: An ethnically relevant approach. Deviant Behavior, 29, 544–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Phinney, J. (1992). The Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure: A new scale for use with adolescents and young adults from diverse groups. Journal of Adolescent Research, 7, 156–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Phinney, J. S., & Ong, A. D. (2007). Conceptualization and measurement of ethnic identity: Current status and future directions. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 271–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Prentice, D. A., & Miller, D. T. (1992). When small effects are impressive. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 160–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Preston, P. (2006). Marijuana use as a coping response to psychological strain: Racial, ethnic, and gender differences among young adults. Deviant Behavior, 27, 397–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Research in Prevention Laboratory. (2006). Prodclin. Retrieved on June 29, 2009, from http://www.public.asu.edu/∼davidpm/ripl/Prodclin/
  60. Rogler, L. H. (1989). The meaning of culturally sensitive research in mental health. American Journal of Psychiatry, 146, 296–303.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Romero, A. J., & Roberts, R. E. (1998). Perception of discrimination and ethnocultural variables in a diverse group of adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 21, 641–656.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Romero, A. J., & Roberts, R. E. (2003). Stress within a bicultural context for adolescents of Mexican descent. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 9, 171–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Samaniego, R. Y., & Gonzales, N. A. (1999). Multiple mediators of the effects of acculturation status on delinquency for Mexican American adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 189–210.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Schultz, L. H., Barr, D. J., & Selman, R. L. (2001). The value of a developmental approach to evaluating character development programs: An outcome study of Facing History and Ourselves. Journal of Moral Education, 30, 3–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Shakib, S., Mouttapa, M., Johnson, C. A., Ritt-Olson, A., Trinidad, D. R., Gallaher, P. E., et al. (2003). Ethnic variation in parenting characteristics and adolescent smoking. Journal of Adolescent Health, 33, 88–97.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Stipek, D., de la Sota, A., & Weishaupt, L. (1999). Life lessons: An embedded classroom approach to preventing high-risk behaviors among preadolescents. Elementary School Journal, 99, 433–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. U.S. Census Bureau (2008). An older and more diverse nation by midcentury. Retrieved December 16, 2008, from http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/012496.html.
  68. Vega, W. A., Khoury, E. L., Zimmerman, R. S., Gil, A. G., & Warheit, G. J. (1995). Cultural conflicts and problem behaviors of Latino adolescents in home and school environments. Journal of Community Psychology, 23, 167–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Vinokurov, A., Trickett, E. J., & Birman, D. (2002). Acculturative hassles and immigrant adolescents: A life-domain assessment for Soviet Jewish Refugees. Journal of Social Psychology, 142, 425–445.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer A. Kam
    • 1
  • Michael J. Cleveland
    • 2
  • Michael L. Hecht
    • 3
  1. 1.School of CommunicationThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.The Methodology CenterThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  3. 3.Communication Arts & SciencesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA

Personalised recommendations