Ties that protect: An ecological perspective on Latino/a urban pre-adolescent drug use

Flavio Marsiglia, Bart W. Miles, Patricia Dustman, Stephen Sills

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


An ecological risk and resiliency framework was applied to explore how social contexts, especially the role of families and schools, are affecting Latino/a pre-adolescent substance use in the urban Southwest. A mixed research design, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, guided the study. Quantitative data were collected through surveys administered as part of a school-based prevention intervention experiment (N = 2,125). Individual interviews conducted with a randomly selected number of matched students (N = 60) provided the qualitative data. The main theme emerging throughout both data sets was a strong resilience against drug use of the participating 7th grade urban youth. The vast majority of students did not use hard drugs, and agreed that alcohol use was inappropriate at their age. A high degree of attachment and strong ties to their parents and their school environment emerged as a shared protective factor. Recommendations include social work interventions that support the resiliency characteristics of urban Latino/a youth in different social contexts such as communities, schools, and families. Limitations of the study are reviewed and suggestions for future research are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Work with Multicultural Youth
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780203050019
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Drug use
  • Family
  • Hispanics
  • Latinos/as
  • Resiliency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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