Substance abuse among African American adolescents: Examining the effects of a community based intervention

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Kardaras, Eva I.
Lewis-Moss, Rhonda K.

This study investigated how adolescent beliefs and subjective norms towards drugs are related to their self reported drug use. A sample of African American adolescents was recruited from a Midwest community to participate in the Risk Reduction Project. The Risk Reduction Project was designed to build refusal skills and safer sex practices among African American adolescents aged 11-19. This project was a collaborative partnership between a university (Wichita State University) and three community based agencies: Knox Center, a local alcohol and drug treatment facility, the Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas, and the Center for Health and Wellness, a primary health care facility. Approximately 309 African American youth completed a 41 item questionnaire that asked about their beliefs, subjective norms towards drugs as well as their intentions to use alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. The results indicate no significant correlation existed between beliefs and intentions at pre-test, r (289) =.002, p=.97, at the post-intervention, r(84)=.166, p=.28. A significant correlation was found between beliefs and intentions at the three month follow-up, r (154) =.214, p<.01. Significant correlations between the variables subjective norms and intentions at the pre-test measure, r (287) =.636, p<.01, at the post-intervention measure, r(211)=.469, p<.01, and at the three month follow-up, r(159)=.724, p<.01. As intention not to use increased at pre-test, reported drug use behavior at three month follow up decreased. The participants’ self reported beliefs against drug use were not significantly different between the different intervention groups. All groups reported a moderate to strong belief of risk with regard to overall drug use, which was consistent over time. Regardless of their group assignment all participants believed that there are high risks associated substance uses, no one intervention had a more marked effect on the change in subjective norms and all participants reported that they intended not to use. There were differences in subjective norms and intentions between participants reporting previous drug use and those reporting no drug use. Those who reported using drugs previously had a slight increase in reported subjective norms against drug use immediately after the intervention, t(212)=-3.023, p<.01, which subsequently decrease at the three months follow-up, t(161)=8.518, p<.01. It appears that for those participants who reported previous drug use, there was an initial effect for the intervention which was reflected in the post-intervention measures, however these results were not sustained over a three month period. Results indicated that there was a difference between those who reported previous drug use and those who did not use drugs. For those who reported no previous drug use, there was a modest decrease in the intention scores reported by participants. For the measures from pre-test, t(285)=-3.79, p<.01, to three month follow up, t(152)=-8.01, p<.01, both groups expressed a decline in their intentions to not use drugs. Limitations and future research are discussed.

Table of Content
Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 44-48)