Cultural traditions as "protective factors" among Latino children of illicit drug users

Felipe Castro, Julie Garfinkle, Diana Naranjo, Maria Rollins, Judith S. Brook, David W. Brook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Family bonding was examined among Hispanic adolescents whose fathers are illicit drug users to ascertain whether such adolescents maintain close affective family ties or alienate themselves from their families given their father's use of illicit drugs and referral to a drug screening and treatment program. It was hypothesized that high levels of paternal drug use would be associated with the youth's alienation from the family. In addition, it was postulated that the adolescent's endorsement of traditional cultural values and social responsibility would protect her or him against this effect in relation to family bonding. These hypotheses are based on prior research that suggests that youth bonding to prosocial institutions, such as family, school, church, and community organizations, can be "protective" against drug use. More specifically, our analyses examined the role of level of acculturation in middle school, family traditionalism, American orientation, Latino orientation, and social responsibility in predicting adolescents' family bonding. Results indicated that the father's level of marijuana and/or methamphetamine use was unrelated to youth family bonding. Additionally, Latino and American cultural orientations and level of acculturation in middle school were not associated with family bonding. By contrast, social responsibility (the youth's citizenship and responsibility to the community) and family traditionalism (endorsing conservative cultural values regarding the maintenance of family traditions and respect for elders and family) were significantly associated with family bonding. In other words, among children of Latino illicit drug users, the youth's conservative family values and a responsible attitude toward community traditions were dual factors related to family bonding, perhaps operating also as sources of "protection" against youth problem behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-642
Number of pages22
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Acculturative stress
  • Cultural identification
  • Family bonding
  • Hispanic youth
  • Protection
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Cultural traditions as "protective factors" among Latino children of illicit drug users'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this