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Thu Aug 23, 2012, 06:31 PM

Studies of Substance Abuse with Interventions for the Youth of Native American Indian Communities #8

Last edited Fri Aug 24, 2012, 12:30 AM - Edit history (1)

Definitions #3

The NHSDA found no significant gender differences in cigarette smoking rates for American Indians and Alaskan Natives, in contrast to data for other ethnic/racial groups which indicated that smoking rates were higher for female than male youth (SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, 2002). Similarly, LeMaster et al. (2002) found no gender differences in the rate of cigarette use but did find a significant difference in the use of smokeless tobacco between American Indian male and female youth (27% and 15%, respectively).

Inhalant use was roughly equal among boys and girls surveyed in the Voices of Indian Teens project (May & Del Vecchio, 1997). However, it was suggested that this might differ on the basis of the age of the participants sampled. A survey conducted with boarding school students showed that boys tended to begin experimenting with inhalants earlier than did girls. The peak period of risk for inhalant use for boys was between 10 and 11 years of age, whereas for girls it was between 12 and 13 years (Okwumabua & Duryea, 1987). Novins and Mitchell (1998) reported that although there were no gender differences at low frequency of marijuana use, defined as using one to three times in the past month, boys were significantly more likely to use marijuana at a high frequency, defined as using 11 or more times in the past month (odds ratio _ 2.37, 99% confidence interval _ 1.52, 3.69). Further, it was found that low frequency marijuana use among girls was indicative of a more severe pattern of substance use than was low frequency use among boys. For both boys and girls, more frequent marijuana use was associated with the increased use of other illicit drugs as well (Novins & Mitchell, 1998).

Although tribal differences have been noted in rates of adult drinking (Levy & Kunitz, 1971; May, 1996; Silk-Walker, Walker, & Kivlahan, 1988), Indian youth appear to use alcohol at similar levels regardless of tribe (Beauvais, 1998). However, other factors do appear to affect drinking patterns. Higher levels of alcohol use have been found among youth who live on reservations (Beauvais, 1992a), youth who attend boarding schools (Dick, Manson, & Beals, 1993), and youth who drop out of school (Beauvais, Chavez, Oetting, Deffenbacher, & Cornell, 1996). Similarly, inhalant use seems to be more prevalent among youth living on reservations or in other rural areas due to the low cost, easy availability, and the difficulties of obtaining other substances.

A study that compared Alaskan Native and Native American Indian youth found that Native youth living in Alaska were almost twice as likely to smoke on a daily basis (Blum, Harmon, Harris, Bergeisen, & Resnick, 1992). SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies (2002) reported a regional difference in cigarette smoking rates: For other racial/ethnic groups, youth living in the South are more likely to smoke than their peers in the western United States. This difference is nonexistent among American Indians, with youth in the southern and western regions of the United States smoking at approximately the same rate (SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, 2002). On the other hand, a study that surveyed students in seven predominantly American Indian high schools west of the Mississippi River found differences in the prevalence of marijuana use based on tribe; however, tribal membership stopped being a predictor when other covariates (such as past month alcohol use and report of having peers that encouraged alcohol use) were entered into the regression equations (Novins & Mitchell, 1998).

Research shows that although American Indian teens may have lifetime alcohol use rates similar to non-American Indian teens, they tend to drink more frequently and to consume alcohol in larger quantities when they do drink. In addition, they are more likely to have tried tobacco, inhalants, and marijuana, and to use these substances on a regular basis. Furthermore, the age at which American Indian youth initiate substance use tends to be younger than what is found in other groups. These trends are likely to significantly impact the development of American Indian youth by interfering with the learning of age-appropriate behaviors and skills (Bentler, 1992). In addition, these trends place them at increased risk for participating in potentially dangerous behaviors and for experiencing acute negative consequences of use (May, 1982). Substance-abusing youth have a greater likelihood of suffering social and interpersonal consequences because of their violation of parental, societal, and legal norms. Although most teenage substance use is believed to “mature out” (Kandel & Logan, 1984; Mitchell, Novins, & Holmes, 1999), early onset of substance use and problem drinking has been linked to a multitude of negative outcomes. Adolescent alcohol use is associated with a wide range of high-risk behaviors, such as driving while drinking (Beauvais, 1992b), delinquency and running away (U.S. Congress, OTA, 1990; Zitzow, 1990), and unprotected sexual activity (Rolf, Nansel, Baldwin, Johnson, & Benally, 2002). It is also associated with psychiatric distress, including concerns such as depression, conduct disorder, and suicide (Dinges & Duong-Tran, 1993; Grossman, Milligan, & Deyo, 1991; Manson, Shore, & Bloom, 1985; May, 1987; Nelson, Mc- Coy, Stetter, & Vanderwagen, 1992; O’Nell, 1992–1993; U.S. Congress, OTA, 1990); academic difficulties (Beauvais, 1996; U.S. Congress, OTA, 1990); and later problems with substance abuse (J. D. Hawkins et al., 1997; May & Moran, 1995).

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