The present study, from an ecological perspective, examines the relationship of linguistic acculturation and perceived parental monitoring of the adolescent’s behaviors as predictors of youth substance use.
Methods The data are drawn from a longitudinal study of the effectiveness of a Parent Education supplement called “Families: Preparing the New Generation.” This supplement was designed to increase the efficacy of the established keepin’ it REAL primary prevention intervention in reducing substance use among adolescents. Data were drawn from the pre-intervention Wave 1 assessment of 388 youths (189 boys, 204 girls) 7 th grade participants who were recruited from nine middle schools, and youths who reside within two school districts that are densely populated with Mexican heritage youths.
Results In general, greater perceived parental monitoring did significantly predict a lower likelihood (frequency) of substance use both for boys and girls. Furthermore, among boys, there was a significant acculturation by parental monitoring interaction effect which predicted lifetime use of alcohol. Among boys relative to girls, the effects of parental monitoring were more pronounced in terms of lower levels of alcohol use, among the most highly acculturated boys. Results are discussed in terms of how levels of acculturation impact family processes and the drug use behaviors of Mexican-heritage adolescents who live primarily within Mexican enclaves (barrios) and who attend schools that have a high proportion of Mexican heritage youths. The present findings are also discussed in terms of the interface of community-based prevention with pediatrics as a means to enhance the overall adolescent health outcomes.