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New Latino Youth and Substance Use: Risk Factors and Cultural Considerations Open Access

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This study aimed to examine a model of youth substance use among New Latinos, a term used to describe the most recent wave of immigrants from Central and South America and their children. The proposed model hypothesized that perceived parental social support and Latino cultural orientation would buffer individual and sociocultural risk factors. A final sample of 118 New Latino youth were administered a survey with demographic questions and psychometric instruments. Results partially supported the hypotheses. Perceived parental social support moderated the relationship between sensation seeking and marijuana; between anxiety sensitivity and marijuana use; as well as between U.S.-American cultural orientation and alcohol use. Latino cultural orientation moderated the relationship between anxiety sensitivity and marijuana use. This study provided a fruitful preliminary step towards identifying a culturally-specific model for New Latino youth substance use. Findings suggested that New Latino substance use patterns differed from other Latino groups, that risk and protective factors differed by substance type, and that perceived parental social support proved to be the most significant protective factor in the model. Hence, perceived parental social support merits inclusion in future models of substance use for New Latino youth.

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