Parent-teen involvement deters Hispanic youth from substance use, risky sexual behaviors

January 17, 2014 by Jared Wadley, University of Michigan
Parent-teen involvement deters Hispanic youth from substance use, risky sexual behaviors

Without parental guidance, Hispanic youths are at increased risk of contracting HIV because they are more likely to engage in substance abuse and risky sex behaviors, a new University of Michigan study found.

But parent-child communication and parental involvement—which are examples of family functioning—may reduce these HIV risk behaviors.

"Effective parenting plays a key role in the development of Hispanic youth and may help to prevent problem behaviors, including substance use and ," said David Cordova, assistant professor of .

The study is among the first to examine the impact of parent-adolescent family functioning discrepancies on Hispanic teens' HIV risk behaviors.

"Other researchers have relied solely on one perspective of family functioning, not analyzing the data from two different perspectives, inclusive of both the parent and adolescent," said Cordova, who will discuss the findings with colleagues this week at the Society for Social Work and Research annual convention in San Antonio.

The study included 746 Hispanic 8th-graders and their primary caregivers who reported the past 90-day and lifetime alcohol and illicit drug use, as well early sex initiation and .

Parents and children answered questions about family functioning based on six factors: positive parenting, , family cohesion, family communication, parental monitoring of peers and parent-adolescent communication.

When the parents and teens reported a greater difference in how they perceive the family context, the youth were more likely to report lawful and use both in their lifetime and the past 90 days, and having sex early in life and unprotected sex.

Therefore, family functioning may help curb the tide of HIV health disparities among Hispanic youth, Cordova said.

Study participants also assessed their comfort and enjoyment with American and Hispanic cultural practices, such as use of language, food and traditions. The greater the difference in parent and adolescent reports of Hispanic cultural norms, the greater are the negative effects on , the research showed.

Family-based interventions designed to improve communication between the parent and child, and reduce differences in how they perceive the family environment, may be effective in reducing and preventing HIV risk behaviors in Hispanic adolescents, Cordova said.

"To effectively engage Hispanic families in prevention programs, intervention developers need to consider the social, political and institutional barriers that have historically prevented this population from having quality and equal access to programs and services," he said. "By not doing so, we run the risk of blaming them."

Explore further: Five effective parenting programs to reduce problem behaviors in children

Related Stories

Five effective parenting programs to reduce problem behaviors in children

December 16, 2013
All parents want what's best for their children. But not every parent knows how to provide their child with the tools to be successful, or how to help them avoid the biggest adolescent behavior problems: substance use, delinquency, ...

20 percent of seventh graders have 'sexted'

January 6, 2014
(HealthDay)—More than 20 percent of at-risk seventh graders have "sexted" and those middle schoolers were much more likely to also have engaged in some type of sexual behavior, a new study finds.

Better HIV prevention interventions needed for juvenile offenders

April 14, 2011
More intensive or family-based HIV prevention interventions may be needed to encourage juvenile offenders to use condoms and stop engaging in risky sexual behavior, say researchers from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research ...

Hispanic teens more likely to abuse drugs, survey finds

August 20, 2013
(HealthDay)—Hispanic teens are more likely to abuse illegal and legal drugs than their black or white peers, a new report finds.

Teens in child welfare system show higher drug abuse rate

November 4, 2013
Teenagers in the child welfare system are at higher-than-average risk of abusing marijuana, inhalants and other drugs, according to a study in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.