221188 Exploring the relationship of substance use and family connectedness among Latino adolescent females to inform health promotion priorities

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Carolyn Garcia, PhD, MPH, RN , School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Lianne Walburg, RN, BS , School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Jennifer Kling, RN, BS , School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Gabriela Vazquez, PhD , Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Joon Ho Park, MS , School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Background: Latino adolescent females experience disproportionate rates of risk behaviors including substance use despite the presence of protective factors (e.g., cultural values emphasizing family closeness). This study sought to examine familial influences on Latino female substance use behaviors to inform culturally meaningful health promotion initiatives.

Methods: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data collected from Latino girls attending two public high schools. Family, father, and mother connectedness measures were analyzed against self-reported tobacco and alcohol use. Potential confounders (e.g., language use, peer connectedness, household composition) were evaluated and found to be similar for youth reporting high versus low connectedness.

Results: Among the 42 Latino female adolescents (ages 14-16; mean 14.8), half were U.S. born and nearly half reported living with both parents (45%). Twenty-seven (66%) reported never smoking, 17 (42%) reported never drinking alcohol. Among those reporting use, ages at first cigarette and first alcohol use ranged between 8-16 (means around 13 years). Seven participants (17%) reported they had smoked in the past 30 days, an indicator of more regular use. Nearly a third (29%) reported alcohol consumption in the past 30 days. Participants reporting high mother connectedness were significantly less likely to report current cigarette use. Adolescents indicating low levels of mother connectedness were significantly more likely to report alcohol use in the past 30 days. For all three connectedness measures (family, mother, and father), a positive association was found between high levels of connectedness and reports of no current alcohol use.

Conclusions: Study findings demonstrate that family connectedness does relate to adolescent Latino female substance use. Prevention efforts should strengthen family relationships, including communication and support. Public health providers should encourage family-centric interventions that promote family-adolescent connectedness as a strategy to protect against substance use among Latino girls.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how family connectedness is measured, as a key protective factor and health promotion focus area for Latino adolescents. 2. Identify 2 strategies for substance use prevention approaches targeting Latino girls.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a public health nurse and researcher in a University setting but partnered with community-based colleagues for most projects.
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.