Yale University

Cultural and Environmental Influences on Precursors to and Early Stages of Alcohol, Nicotine, and Cannabis Use in Black and Latinx Youth

Principle Investigator(s):

Funder: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Project period: 12/08/2021 - 11/30/2026
Grant Type: Research
Further Detail

Abstract Text:

By 8th grade, one in five Black youth and one in four Latinx youth has tried some form of alcohol, nicotine, or cannabis - well after substance use related cognitions (e.g., perceived harm), which impact risk for use - have started to form. Prevention efforts must be grounded in knowledge of how modifiable risk and protective factors that are present prior to early adolescence may vary within (e.g., by gender) and between racial/ethnic groups in their influences on precursors to and early substance use behaviors. Focusing on understudied cultural factors that are especially salient for Black and Latinx youth, such as racial/ethnic discrimination and environmental factors that are highly prevalent in Black and Latinx communities, such as religious involvement, the proposed etiological study will integrate methodological approaches that can address both their unique and collective influences on substance use related cognitions and use from pre- to mid-adolescence. This secondary data analysis project is based on the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (total N=11,878), an ongoing multi-site, population-based longitudinal study of adolescent development. Drawing on data collected at ages 9- 16 from the 10,360 participants (47.8% female) that were identified by their parents as Black (17.2%), Latinx (23.2%), or White (59.6%), we will address three core aims. First, we will use person-centered analyses (mixture modeling) to identify latent profiles (subgroups) of risk and protection based on cultural and environmental factors (e.g., acculturation, parental support) and substance use related cognitions (perceived harm, expectancies, intentions to use) that predate and evolve as a function of substance use. Second, to gain a more nuanced perspective on the early course of substance use, we will apply mixture modeling, survival analysis, and a novel modeling approach integrating the two, to identify possible distinctions between and among Black, Latinx, and White youth in timing of progression through early stages (experimentation, initiation, and - as the cohort ages - regular use), circumstances of use (e.g., how obtained), as well as type/method of use (e.g., beer vs. hard liquor, cannabis vaping vs. edibles). Third, building on this foundation, we will identify cultural and environmental influences that modify the course of substance use in Black and Latinx youth, focusing on common prevention targets, such as ethnic identity and parental monitoring. In addition to extending the models (e.g., incorporating moderators) derived for Aims 1 and 2, we will apply propensity score matching, integrating geocoded neighborhood data, to parse out the unique influence of risk factors, such as trauma, from the conditions that elevate risk for experiencing them. Identifying similarities and distinctions across and considering differences within (e.g., by gender) racial/ethnic groups in the impact of cultural and environmental influences on precursors to and early stages of substance use will contribute to refining etiological models of substance involvement in Black and Latinx youth that can inform prevention and ultimately reduce substance use related health disparities.