Risk and protective factors of problem behaviors among ethnic minority adolescents
A significant proportion of youth in the United States experience problem behaviors such as interpersonal violence, delinquency, substance use, and risky sexual behavior. These problem behaviors are highly and positively associated with negative mental health and other developmental outcomes. While many studies of youth outcomes have focused on ethnic majority youth, studies that have included ethnic minority youth frequently have neglected ethnic groups other than African- and Latin Americans. Consequently, although Asian Americans and mixed race youth are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the U.S., they remain as the least studied groups of people. Similarly, a large number of ethnic minority youth are immigrants, yet there is little understanding about how immigrant status affects development.There is a dearth of theoretically guided research upon which to base the development of appropriate interventions to prevent or reduce problem behaviors among minority youth. This dissertation research will elaborate and test factors particularly pertinent to minority youth development upon which later preventive interventions can be based. This study utilizes the Social Development Model, a theory that integrates a risk and protective factor approach to explain behavior problems in youth.The dissertation research seeks to describe and compare rates and patterns of substance use and violent behaviors by race/ethnic groups, immigrant status, and by age, gender, and low income status; investigates whether ethnic identity and/or the subjective experience of racial discrimination are associated with rates and patterns of problem behaviors; test the Social Development Model (SDM) with an emphasis on the model's exogenous variables to explain problem behaviors among youth; and determine whether the SDM explains problem behaviors among youth equally well across different ethnic/racial groups and for immigrant and non-immigrant youth.There is a need to better understand the factors and mechanisms that are contributing to maladaptive developmental processes, as well as to understand those factors and mechanisms that buffer risk. Knowledge from this study can lead to the development of appropriate interventive targets for each race/ethnic group that reduce problem behaviors and enhance resiliency among ethnic minority youth.
- Social welfare