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BMC Pediatrics

, 11:71

First Online: 16 August 2011Received: 16 December 2010Accepted: 16 August 2011


BackgroundRacial-ethnic differences in representation, substance use, and its correlates may be linked to differential long-term health outcomes for justice-involved youth. Determining the nature of these differences is critical to informing more efficacious health prevention and intervention efforts. In this study, we employed a theory-based approach to evaluate the nature of these potential differences. Specifically, we hypothesized that 1 racial-ethnic minority youth would be comparatively overrepresented in the juvenile justice system, 2 the rates of substance use would be different across racial-ethnic groups, and 3 individual-level risk factors would be better predictors of substance use for Caucasian youth than for youth of other racial-ethnic groups.

MethodsTo evaluate these hypotheses, we recruited a large, diverse sample of justice-involved youth in the southwest N = 651; M age = 15.7, SD = 1.05, range = 14-18 years; 66% male; 41% Hispanic, 24% African American, 15% Caucasian, 11% American Indian-Alaska Native. All youth were queried about their substance use behavior alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, illicit hard drug use and individual-level risk factors school involvement, employment, self-esteem, level of externalizing behaviors.

ResultsAs predicted, racial-ethnic minority youth were significantly overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. Additionally, Caucasian youth reported the greatest rates of substance use and substance-related individual-level risk factors. In contrast, African American youth showed the lowest rates for substance use and individual risk factors. Contrary to predictions, a racial-ethnic group by risk factor finding emerged for only one risk factor and one substance use category.

ConclusionsThis research highlights the importance of more closely examining racial-ethnic differences in justice populations, as there are likely to be differing health needs, and subsequent treatment approaches, by racial-ethnic group for justice-involved youth. Additionally, this study highlights the need for timely, empirically supported developmentally and cross-culturally substance abuse interventions for all justice-involved youth.

Keywordssubstance use adolescent risk factors race-ethnicity juvenile justice  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Sarah W Feldstein Ewing - Kamilla L Venner - Hilary K Mead - Angela D Bryan

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/

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