186559 Racial/ethnic disparities in sources of stress and social support among adolescent entering substance abuse treatment

Monday, October 27, 2008: 10:30 AM

Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, PhD , Center for Technical Assistance, Training, and Research Support, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
Mesfin S. Mulatu, PhD, MPH , National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, & TB Prevention, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Darren Fulmore, PhD , Center for Technical Assistance, Training, and Research Support, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
Dionne C. Godette, PhD , Department of Health Promotion & Behavior, University of Georgia, College of Public Health, Athens, GA
Background: Stress and lack of social support are linked to substance abuse (SA). We examined differences in sources of stress and social support among diverse group of adolescents entering SA treatment programs.

Methods: We used data collected from 4,916 adolescents (12-17 yr olds; 73% male; 53.3% White, 19.4% Black; 15.3% Hispanic; 12.1% mixed race) who were admitted into federally funded SA treatment programs. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine racial/ethnic differences in past year sources of stress and social support, after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, SA, and mental health symptoms.

Results: Death (33.3%) or health problems of a family member or close friend (31.3%), fighting with others (26.1%), changes in relationships (22.9%), and school/work issues (21.0%) were the most common sources of stress among all groups. Whites were more likely than Blacks or Hispanics to report problems associated with relationships, health, school/work, transportation, and threat or loss of something important. In contrast, Blacks were more likely than Whites to have experienced stress due to addition of a family member, death, and witnessing a negative event. In addition, minorities were less likely than Whites to report social support from professionals, friends, or family members. Stress was positively associated with mental health symptoms among all groups, whereas social support was negatively associated with frequency of substance use only among Whites and Blacks.

Conclusions: Sources of stress and social support, and their relationships to SA and mental health vary by race/ethnicity. Implications of these disparities for SA treatment programs will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
Identify racial/ethnic disparities in sources of stress and social support among adolescents with substance use problems. Examine relationships between sources of stress and social support, substance abuse, and mental health symptoms. Discuss implications of these findings for designing substance abuse treatment and prevention programs for adolescents from diverse backgrounds.

Keywords: Stress, Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a researcher in the field; I also identified this research question and collaborated in data analysis/writing of the report.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.