Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

BMC Public Health





DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

August 2014



Little empirical research has examined how cultural factors influence psychosocial factors for heroin drug use. The objectives of the study were to investigate the levels of individualism and collectivism among young adolescents and how cultural differences were associated with the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior and other psychosocial factors for heroin drug use.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among young adolescents in an HIV and heroin-stricken area in China. The Individualism-Collectivism Interpersonal Assessment Inventory (ICIAI) was used to measure cultural norms and values in the context of three social groups: family members, close friends, and classmates.


A total of 220 boys and 241 girls were recruited and participated in an interview. Compared to boys, girls reported higher levels of the three specific-relationship ICIAIs, as well as higher levels of perceived behavioral control for heroin use, perceived peer control, and communication with parent about heroin use, but a lower level of favorable attitude towards heroin use. The levels of descriptive and subjective norms of heroin use were low in both girls and boys. Among boys, family ICIAI was positively associated with perceived behavioral control, and friend ICIAI was positively associated with perceived peer control and communication with parent. Among girls, family ICIAI was positively associated with perceived behavioral control and communication with parents about heroin use, but negatively with favorable attitudes to heroin use; friend ICIAI was positively associated with perceived peer control, and classmate ICIAI was negatively associated with favorable attitudes toward heroin use.


This study documents that collectivistic aspects of Chinese culture may influence psychosocial factors for heroin use, although the patterns are varied by gender. Findings provide an empirical basis for the development of culturally competent intervention programs for heroin use intervention and prevention.


© 2010 Liu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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