Research on alcohol use has indicated alcohol onset as an important factor in the cascade into other risky behaviors such as drug use, drug dependency, and other addictions. These patterns can lead a young person to engage in risky sexual behaviors and pose risk to their physical, mental, and academic fitness. Because alcohol use usually begins during adolescence, it is important to examine the many lifestyle influences that can increase the risk for alcohol use as well as those that can serve to protect young adults from this behavior. The family environment is one element that can either contribute to alcohol use or buffer a teen from alcohol consumption. Two aspects of this dynamic include parental respect, that is, the respect that a teen has for their parents, and familism, the feeling of belonging to the family. In a recent study led by Regina A. Shih of the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, both of these aspects were considered in the context of alcohol initiation among a diverse sample of adolescents.
The study included more than 6,000 non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and Asian teenagers. The teens were followed for 1 year and were assessed based on cultural and ethnic values, familism, parental respect, and alcohol initiation. Shish utilized resistance self-efficacy measures to gauge alcohol resistance and predicted that the Asian teens would have high levels of parental respect, the Hispanic teens would have high levels of familism, and both would be insulated from alcohol initiation at higher rates than the White or non-Hispanic participants. However, the results revealed that although parental respect was indeed protective, it was most evident among the Asian and White participants. Additionally, contrary to expectations, familism was not a buffering mechanism for Hispanic teens or any of the other participants. In sum, Shih believes that these findings reveal the importance of integrating cultural and relational values into treatments. She added, “Interventions that focus on maintaining strong cultural values and building strong bonds between adolescents and their families may help reduce the risk of alcohol initiation.”
Shih, R. A., Miles, J. N. V., Tucker, J. S., Zhou, A. J., D’Amico, E. J. (2012). Racial/ethnic differences in the influence of cultural values, alcohol resistance self-efficacy, and alcohol expectancies on risk for alcohol initiation. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0029254
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.