The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3074.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - Board 4

Abstract #66558

Bridging the cultural divide: How to use the Internet to prevent substance abuse among Hispanic/Latino youth

Monica B Rodriguez, MA1, Farra Trompeter1, and Margaret Weiss Behrns, BA2. (1) Social & Health Services Division, ORC Macro, 11426 Rockville Pike, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20852, 301-770-5800,, (2) Marketing and Outreach, SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, 11426 Rockville Pike, NCADI, suite 200, Rockville, MD 20852

According to a 2002 report by Roslow Research Group, half of Hispanics 16 years of age and older are using the Internet. Internet usage in Spanish has increased, and more people are using Spanish rather than English text online. A 2001 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that among youth in general, 39 percent of online health-seeking teenagers said they have changed their own behavior because of information they found on the Web. Despite these findings, environmental scanning points to a shortage of reliable bilingual health information Web sites geared specifically toward Latino audiences. In response, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed Soy Unica! Soy Latina! and Hablemos en Confianza to facilitate communication between Hispanic parents and their children, and to reduce the rates of substance use, teen pregnancy, dropout, depression, and suicide among Latina girls, ages 9 to 14. This is accomplished by addressing risk and protective factors like self-esteem, mental health, decision-making, assertiveness skills, and cultural pride. Both Web sites provide Spanish/English language options to present the information without giving preference to either language, while ensuring they are user friendly and relevant. Our Web Trends reports attest to the success of the sites, which attract an average of 15,000 visitors each month, have doubled its audience in the past year, and is being used by people looking for information in Spanish. Developing bilingual Web sites is a feasible and effective way to reach Latino audiences with public health education messages.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Hispanic Youth, Health Communications

Related Web page:,

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: client

Bridging the Cultural Divide

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA