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Differences in Hispanic/Latino parents' interactions with their alcohol using adolescents


Acculturation is the developmental process of adopting the ideals, values, and behaviors of the receiving culture, while either retaining or abandoning those from culture of origin. Acculturation plays a role in adolescents’ alcohol and other drug use (AOD) behaviors. One of the hypothesized pathways by which it has an effect on AOD use is via parenting behaviors. While previous literature has demonstrated that acculturation may impact communication as well as monitoring, listening and limit setting, very few studies have used observational data to support these findings. The current study utilizes observational data to examine whether differences exist in parent-adolescent interactions by parents' acculturation level. A sample of 39 Hispanic/Latino parent-adolescent dyads were recruited in Rhode Island. The majority of the adolescents were male (62%) with an average age of 14.44 years; of the Hispanic/Latino dyads, 77% of the adolescents were born in the US and 69% of their parents were born abroad. Parents were classified as being more or less acculturated using median split scores derived from the Marin Short Acculturation Scale. This resulted in 51% of parents being classified as less acculturated and 49% as highly acculturated. Interactions between parents and their adolescents during three family management tasks (Family Monitoring and Listening, Problem Solving and Substance Use Communication) were videotaped and observed. The Family Assessment Task Coder Impressions was used to code each of the observations. Two individual coders completed separate coding sheets for each videotape and later discussed the ratings and reached consensus. All pairs of coders included at least one coder that was Hispanic and Spanish speaking. Differences between parents' acculturation levels and parent-adolescent interactions were examined using multivariate analysis of variance, F (7, 20) = 2.48, p < .05; Wilk's λ = 0.535. Results demonstrated statistically significant differences only in the family problem solving tasks subscales which included family problem solving, parent problem solving, and teen problem solving. These results indicate that parents who were classified as more acculturated were more likely to 1) clearly specify and communicate problem behavior; 2) offer and be open and flexible to alternative solutions that the dyad agreed on; and, 3) include the adolescent's interest when coming up with solutions during the problem solving task. While these results should not be interpreted as suggesting deficits in less acculturated parents, the results of this study suggest that as parents acculturate to the dominant culture, their interactions with their adolescents may become more egalitarian. Therefore, family-based AOD use prevention/intervention programs would benefit from a more tailored approach and address these within-group differences among Hispanic/Latino families.


Hernandez-Carrasco, Juliette, "Differences in Hispanic/Latino parents' interactions with their alcohol using adolescents" (2016). Summer Research Symposium, The Leadership Alliance Digital Library. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.



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