As one of the fastest growing ethnic minority groups in the United States, alcohol and drug use in American Americans has increasingly been recognized as a public health problem. Emerging research has documented biological, psychosocial, and cultural factors that are associated with alcohol use in Asian American youth adults (Hendershot et al., 2005). However, existing studies have neither adopted a developmental perspective to study the emergence of alcohol use and problems in Asian American during late adolescence, nor have they tested whether prior findings can be generalized to predict drug use and problems. Concurrently, evidence from a separate line of research has suggested that effects of parenting are often different across Asian and European American youth. Numerous studies, for example, have suggested that authoritarian parenting style has beneficial effects in Asian American youth, but detrimental effects in European American youth on outcomes such as academic performance and socio-emotional competence. Subsequent research has indicated that parental constructs such as emotional support and psychological control may also have differential effects across Asian and European American youth (e.g., Chao &Tseng, 2002). Despite these findings, no published study has documented differential effects of parenting on alcohol and drug use across Asian and European American youth. Thus, the overarching goal of this study is to examine moderation effects by ethnicity on the association between parenting and alcohol and drug use outcomes in a longitudinal sample of Asian and European American youth. Specifically, the proposed study will test whether parental emotional support, psychological control and monitoring have differential effects on alcohol and drug use outcomes across Asian and European American youth. Data will be drawn from 97 Asian American and 255 European American youth who participated in the Developmental Pathway Project. Structural equation modeling and factor analysis techniques will be used to test (1) whether parental emotional support, psychological control, and monitoring in 7th grade will differentially predict alcohol and drug use outcomes in 9th and 12th grade across Asian and European American youth;(2) whether developmental pathways from parenting to alcohol and drug use outcomes (via school achievement and peer substance use in 8th grade) are different across Asian and European American youth;and (3) whether the hypothesized moderation effects by ethnicity can be attributed to different interpretation of parenting, as suggested by prior research (e.g., Chao &Aque, 2009). Results from the proposed study can be used to guide the development of culturally sensitive prevention and intervention programs for alcohol and drug use in Asian American youth.
The proposed project addresses a strategic goal of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) on the prevention of alcohol and drug use through understanding risk and protective factors in adolescence, a developmental stage during which substance use increases over time. This project also addresses NIDA's cross-cutting priorities of decreasing health disparity related to drug addiction and training new investigators from a diverse (including minority) background. The ultimate goal of this project is to limit substance use initiation and problematic use through the development of culturally sensitive prevention and intervention programs for Asian American youth.