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Family ties: examining family functioning and alcohol use among American Indian youth

Morgan A. Douglass (Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA )
Meghan A. Crabtree (Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA )
Linda R. Stanley (Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA )
Randall C. Swaim (Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA )
Mark A. Prince (Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA )

Drugs, Habits and Social Policy

ISSN: 2752-6739

Article publication date: 24 October 2023

Issue publication date: 28 November 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine a second-order latent variable of family functioning built from two established protective factors for American Indian (AI) youth, i.e. family cohesion and parental monitoring. This study then examines if family functioning is related to alcohol use frequency or age of initiation for AI youth. Additionally, this study examines if family functioning served as a moderator for the risk factor of peer alcohol use.

Design/methodology/approach

Data came from the 2021 Our Youth, Our Future survey. Participants were 4,373 AI adolescents from Grades 6–12 across the contiguous USA. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the latent variable of family functioning. Structural paths and interaction terms between peer use and family functioning were added to the SEM to explore direct and moderating effects.

Findings

Family cohesion and parental monitoring were best represented by a second-order latent variable of family functioning, which was related to later initiation and lower alcohol use frequency.

Practical implications

The findings regarding the initiation of alcohol use may be applicable to prevention programs, with family functioning serving as a protective factor for the initiation of alcohol use. Programs working toward alcohol prevention may be best served by focusing on family-based programs.

Originality/value

The latent variable of family functioning is appropriate for use in AI samples. Family functioning, which is an inherent resilience factor in AI communities, was shown to be protective against harmful alcohol use behaviors.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This research was supported by grant # R01DA003371 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Citation

Douglass, M.A., Crabtree, M.A., Stanley, L.R., Swaim, R.C. and Prince, M.A. (2023), "Family ties: examining family functioning and alcohol use among American Indian youth", Drugs, Habits and Social Policy, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 372-387. https://doi.org/10.1108/DHS-06-2023-0022

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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