Title

Acculturation and Substance Use Among Hispanic Early Adolescents: Investigating the Mediating Roles of Acculturative Stress and Self-Esteem

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2009

Abstract

We examined the extent to which Hispanic orientation and American orientation are associated with substance use (cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana) both directly and indirectly through acculturative stress and self-esteem. Participants were 347 Hispanic early adolescents (50.7% male; mean age = 12.57, SD = 0.92, range 11-15) from two middle schools in western Michigan. Findings showed that self-esteem emerged as the most consistent predictor of likelihood and extent of substance use. Ethnic identity was positively related to risk for substance use, and acculturative stress and self-esteem mediated the relationships of Hispanic cultural orientation to alcohol use. Self-esteem was the most important protective factor against substance use, and as such, we conclude that prevention programs designed to address precocious substance use that incorporate a self-esteem building component could prove useful among Hispanic early adolescents residing in monocultural contexts within the United States.