Drug use among African Americans: ethnic identity as a protective factor.

Research paper by J S JS Brook, E B EB Balka, D W DW Brook, P T PT Win, M D MD Gursen

Indexed on: 18 Mar '99Published on: 18 Mar '99Published in: Psychological reports


This study examined the multiple components of ethnic identity, the place of this ethnic identity set in the mediational model of the path to drug use predicted by our family interactional framework, and the protective role of each component of ethnic identity. The participants were 259 male and 368 female African Americans in late adolescence. They responded to a structured questionnaire in individual interviews. We found that few of the specific components of ethnic identity were significantly related as main effects to drug use. Most of the effect of ethnic identity was mediated by the family set of variables. Each of the components of ethnic identity offset risks or enhanced protective factors from the ecology, family, personality, and peer domains, thereby lessening drug use. This pattern highlights the importance of incorporating ethnic identity into drug prevention programs which serve African-American youth.