Research & Resources

Ethnic Discrimination, Drug-Using Peers, and Underage Drinking Among Mexican-Origin Adolescents

In this study researchers used a three-wave longitudinal data set of 602 Mexican-origin adolescents to examine pathways from early exposure to ethnic discrimination and drug-using peers to underage drinking status by late adolescence. Findings showed that early ethnic discrimination experiences were related to a higher likelihood of having engaged in underage drinking by late adolescence due to the negative feelings sustained across adolescence. No association was shown between affiliation with drug-using peers in early adolescence and underage drinking status. Alcohol use interventions targeting ethnic minority adolescents should account for adolescents’ ethnic discrimination experiences by helping adolescents develop adaptive coping strategies to handle the effects of discrimination rather than using alcohol to self-medicate. 
This paper, “Pathways linking ethnic discrimination and drug-using peer affiliation to underage drinking status among Mexican-origin adolescents,” was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

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