Psychiatric Symptoms, Parental Attachment, and Reasons for Use as Correlates of Heavy Substance Use Among Treatment-Seeking Hispanic Adolescents

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4 Scopus citations


In early adolescence, Hispanics self-report higher drug use rates compared to White and African American peers. Among adolescent users, heavy users have more negative behavioral and health consequences. The purpose of this cross-sectional study is to examine whether psychiatric symptoms, parental attachment, and reasons for use predict heavy alcohol and illicit drug use (more than 10 times in the past three months) among Hispanic adolescents. Methods: This study examines baseline data from a study evaluating a family based substance abuse treatment program for Hispanic adolescents. Participants were 14–17 years old (N = 156, 44% female). Adolescent reports on the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Predictive Scales measured psychiatric symptoms of major depressive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, and anxiety. The Personal Experiences Inventory measured type and amount of drug use, as well as perceived social and psychological benefits of drug use. The Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment measured trust, communication, and alienation between adolescents and their mothers. Logistic regression identified correlates of heavy alcohol use and heavy illicit drug use among Hispanic adolescents. Results: Higher social benefits were associated with increased likelihood of heavy alcohol use. Conduct disorder, higher levels of maternal attachment, lower levels of acculturation, and higher levels of psychological benefits of use were associated with an increased likelihood of heavy illicit drug use. Conclusion: These findings support the assumption that substance use treatment among Hispanic adolescents must be capable of addressing co-occurring psychiatric disorders, familial relationships, and the individual reasons/motivators to use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-400
Number of pages9
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 23 2017


  • Hispanics
  • adolescents
  • heavy alcohol use
  • heavy drug use
  • psychiatric symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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