Research: Our Youth, Our Future

The Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research at Colorado State University has been monitoring American Indian youth substance use behaviors and their correlates for over 30 years.  Each year the Center surveys a sample of 7th – 12th grade American Indian students who live on or near reservations about their drug and alcohol use, attitudes toward substance use, and many other variables. This study has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).   Below is a summary of selected recent findings.

Epidemiology Findings

Substance use among American Indian youth on reservations with comparisons to a national sample of U.S. adolescents

Findings from this study demonstrate that American Indian adolescents who reside on or near reservations continue a trend of using nearly all substances at substantially higher rates than adolescents from a nationally representative sample from Monitoring the Future. (read article)

Latent classes of substance use among American Indian and white youth living on or near reservations

Significant differences in substance use patterns between reservation American Indian students and white students attending the same schools were found, and combinations of substances used by American Indian adolescents were most likely to include marijuana, as compared with alcohol for white adolescents. (read article)

Initiation of alcohol, marijuana, and inhalant use by American Indian and white youth living on or near reservations

The results provide further evidence that AI youth living on or near reservations initiate substance use significantly earlier than white youth who attend the same schools and live in the same communities, with evidence being strongest for marijuana initiation. (read article)

Rates of substance use of American Indian students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades living on or near reservations: Update, 2009-2012

Substance use prevalence rates for AI students were significantly higher than national rates for nearly all substances, especially for 8th graders. Rates of marijuana use were very high, with lifetime use higher than 50% for all grades. (read article)

How Do Rates of American Indian Youth Substance Use Compare to National Rates?

A comparison of American Indian (AI) youth substance use data to national rates from Monitoring the Future (MTF) for the years 2009-2012 shows that adolescent substance use is still a major problem among reservation-based AI students. This is especially true for 8th graders where lifetime, annual, and last month prevalence rates were significantly higher than national rates for nearly all substances. (More)

Stanley L.R., Harness, S., Swaim, R.C., & Beauvais F. (2013, in press).   Trends in substance use among American Indian youth living on or near reservations; Update, 2009-2012. Public Health Reports.

How Do Drug Use Rates Among American Indian Youth Vary by Region?

AI students in the Northern Plains and Upper Great Lakes are more likely to have used substances at much higher rates than those living in the Southwest and Oklahoma, with the exception of methamphetamines, where students in the Southwest have higher use rates. Use among female AI students was equal to or higher than that of male AI students. (More)

Miller K.A., Stanley L.R., Beauvais F. (2012).   Regional differences in drug use rates among American Indian youth. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 126(1-2), 35-41.

Do Drug Use Rates Differ Between Oklahoma and Non-Oklahoma Indian Youth?

Oklahoma Indian 7th-12th graders have significantly lower drug use rates than those of Non-Oklahoma Indian 7th -12th graders. In addition, Oklahoma youth show later ages of initiation of drug use and greater perceptions of harm from using drugs. (More)

Tragesser, S.L., Beauvais, F., Burnside, M., & Jumper-Thurman, P. (2010)   Differences in illicit drug-use rates among Oklahoma and non-Oklahoma Indian youth. Substance Use and Misuse, 45(13) 2323-39.

How does American Indian 4th-6th grade drug use compare to non-Indian use?

Marijuana use rates for American Indian 4th-6th graders are significantly higher than non-Indian 4th-6th graders while inhalant use rates are very similar. Last month marijuana use rates are 5 to 10 times higher for Indian youth, suggesting very early initiation of marijuana use for a large percentage of Indian youth. (More)

Miller K.A., Beauvais F., Burnside M., & Jumper-Thurman P. (2008).   A comparison of American Indian and non-Indian fourth to sixth graders’ rates of drug use. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. 7(3), 258-267.

Are tobacco use rates for American Indian adolescents similar to those for non-Indian youth?

Comparing MTF rates of tobacco use for 8th, 10th and 12th grade youth to Indian youth shows that their use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are significantly higher than those found for the MTF national survey. In conjunction with these higher rates are lower levels of perceived harm of tobacco use. (More)

Beauvais F., Thurman P.J., Burnside M, & Plested B. (2007).   Prevalence of American Indian adolescent tobacco use: 1993-2004. Substance Use and Misuse. 42(4), 591-601.

Etiology Findings

Predictors of substance use latent classes among American Indian students attending schools on or near reservations

Identical latent classes of substance use were found between American Indian middle school and high school students, with early initiation and peer factors strongly predictive of class membership. (read article)

Examination of recreational and spiritual peyote use among American Indian youth

This study examined predictors of both recreational and peyote use among American Indian youth, with current alcohol and marijuana predictive of each, but more strongly related to recreational use. (read article)

Classes of drinking motives among American Indian youth drinkers

LCA identified two classes of drinking motives among American Indian 7-12th grade students on reservations, those drinking to cope and enhance other experiences, and low motive drinkers.  The coping and enhancement class of drinkers reported higher perceived discrimination, ethnic identity, and heavy episodic drinking than the low motives class. (read article)

The effects of family conflict and anger on alcohol use among American Indian students: Mediating effects of perceived emotional benefits

SEM analysis indicated that outcome expectancies fully mediated the relationships between both anger and family conflict and alcohol involvement, but only between anger and alcohol involvement among high school American Indian youth on reservations. (read article)

Perceived harm as a mediator of the relationship between social norms and marijuana use and related consequences among American Indian youth

Findings suggest that normative perceptions and perceived harm are antecedents of marijuana use/consequences and are prime targets for large scale interventions on AI reservations. (read article)

The role of norms in marijuana use among American Indian adolescents

Descriptive and injunctive norms were distinctly and directly associated with lifetime, last month, and frequent marijuana use, with family injunctive norms showing a strong relationship to use and moderating the relationship between descriptive norms and lifetime and last month use. (read article)

Multivariate family factors and lifetime and current marijuana use among American Indian and white adolescents residing on or near reservations.

Family structure, parental monitoring, family conflict, and family sanctions against marijuana use were found to be strongly related to lifetime and current marijuana use among both American Indian and white students who live on reservations. (read article)

The moderating effects of perceived social benefits on inhalant initiation among American Indian and White youth.

Perceived social benefits failed to moderate the relationship between social influence variables (school attachment, peer inhalant use, perceived family caring, parental monitoring) and stage of inhalant initiation (early or late), and lifetime inhalant use.  Once exception for lifetime inhalant use was that  low perceived social benefits provided greater protection against the influence of peers on lifetime inhalant use among White students, while high perceived social benefits increased risk of peer influence among American Indian students. (read article)

The moderating effects of perceived emotional benefits on early inhalant initiation among American Indian and white youth.

Depression and anger did not discriminate between early and later initiation of inhalants among both American Indian and white youth from reservations. Lower self-esteem related to earlier initiation, but only among American Indian students and perceived emotional benefits of inhalant use did not moderate the relationship between self-esteem and stage of initiation. (read article)

Research: Be Under Your Own Influence

The role of future orientation and self-determination on American Indian adolescents’ intentions to use alcohol and marijuana

Findings suggested that self-determination (SD), and more proximally, perceived consequences of substance use for autonomy, may be particularly useful promotive factors to target substance use prevention in American Indian (AI) adolescents. Culturally congruent interventions designed to promote SD and autonomous motivations to abstain may be particularly impactful within a young AI adolescent population, as early adolescence represents a critical period of development for personal autonomy and identity. (read article)

Cultural Adaptation of the Be Under Your Own Influence Media Campaign for Middle-School American Indian Youth

American Indian (AI) youth living on or near reservations have much in common with other youth, including high future aspirations, involvement in activities and hobbies, and influence from family and friends. At the same time, there were important differences in the experiences, environment, and values of these AI youth, including emphasis on different types of activities, a more collectivist cultural orientation, tribal identity and pride, and the importance of extended families. (read article)

The Imperative for Research to Promote Health Equity in Indigenous Communities

This paper presents a case for increased health promotion, prevention, and treatment research with Indigenous populations, providing context to the recent NIH investment in the Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health (IRINAH) network. (read article)

Research: Community Readiness

A Systematic Review of Community Readiness Tool Applications: Implications for Reporting

A systematic review characterized and synthesized applications of the Community Readiness Tool and synthesised quantitative results for readiness applications at multiple time points. (read article)

Assessing community readiness online: a concurrent validation study

The purpose of this study was to develop, test and validate a more efficient online version of an existing community readiness tool and identify potential problems in completing assessments. Concurrent validity for the online method was supported for the Leadership dimension only. However, the online method holds promise as it reduces time and resource burden. (read article)

Identifying Upstream Factors using the Community Readiness Model: The Case of Reducing Alcohol Use among College Students

The purpose of this paper is to, with increasing recognition of the importance of upstream factors in individual behavior, provide an example of how the Community Readiness Model (CRM) was used as a tool to understand the barriers within the broader environment to achieving reductions in the use of alcohol by college students and how this resulted in identifying upstream social marketing strategies. (read article)

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