Neighborhood, Friend, and Family Influence on Alcohol and Drug Use of Latino and Armenian Adolescents

The purpose of this study was to examine neighborhood, friend, and family influences on alcohol and drug of Latino and Armenian adolescents. Self-report survey data were collected from 368 Armenians (Mage = 16.2, 56.5% girls) and 748 Latinos (Mage = 14.9, 55.3% girls) in Southern California. The results of hierarchical multiple regressions found: (1) perceived neighborhood availability of substances was significantly related to alcohol and drug use in Armenian American and Latino adolescents, (2) perceptions of friends' alcohol use and friends' drug use were related to adolescents' alcohol use and drug use, (3) perceived maternal monitoring and paternal monitoring were related to less alcohol use and drug use among adolescents, and (4) perceived maternal monitoring moderated the relationship between friends' drug use and adolescents' drug use. A few implications of the results follow. First, policy makers and community leaders can use public service announcements to reduce perceptions of neighborhood availability of alcohol and drugs. Second, mental health practitioners should identify motivations for why adolescents who drink or use drugs associate with substance using friends. And finally, family life educators should encourage parents to monitor their youth through open communication.