Defense Date

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Melissa Abell

Second Advisor

Faye Belgrave

Abstract

African American adolescents have traditionally engaged in drug use at disproportionately lower rates than youth of other ethnic groups. Nonetheless, African American youth and adults suffer disproportionately higher rates of drug-related consequences. This paradox is a health and social disparity that has been given fair attention but needs additional culturally intelligent theoretical and empirical explanations. Research that targets African American adolescent drug use has emerged but has failed to fully or moderately explain this paradox. The purpose of this study was to fill a gap in the literature by helping to explain the first part of the paradox, African American adolescent drug use. More specifically, this study examined the role of parents and peers in drug use among African American adolescents that live in rural and urban settings. To achieve the goals of the present study, a cross sectional design was used. A purposive sample of 567 African American adolescents completed a paper-and-pen survey. Findings of this study indicate that parental monitoring and peer risky behavior completely mediated the relationship between parental attitudes toward drug use and drug refusal efficacy and partially mediated the relationship between parental attitudes toward drug use and current alcohol use. Only peer risky behavior mediated the relationships between parental attitudes toward drug use and current tobacco and marijuana use. This study also sought to determine the manner by which parenting variables interact with peer risky behavior to influence adolescent drug use. Although parental monitoring was not found to moderate the relationship between peer risky behavior and drug refusal efficacy, it moderated the relationship upon the drug use variables. This study also examined the interaction of demographic characteristics and peer risky behavior upon adolescent drug use. Gender moderated the relationship between peer risky behavior and current marijuana use. Age moderated the relationship between peer risky behavior and current tobacco use. This research helps to explain the process by which parental attitudes toward drug use influence drug refusal efficacy and use. The results suggest that parental attitudes toward drug use has a direct effect on adolescent drug use independent of peer influence. In addition, the results suggest that parents are influential and may be a protective mechanism against the strong influence of risky peers.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2008

Included in

Social Work Commons

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