Perceived Discrimination and Substance Abuse Among American Indian Children

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Perceived Discrimination and substance abuse among American Indian Children| |
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10/5/2012|

It is believed that discrimination is harmful to adults. The effects of discrimination affect ones mental and physical health causing them to experience depressive symptoms, low self-esteem and often symptoms of anxiety. There is relatively little known on the effects that discrimination has on early development (Finch, Kolodny, and Vega 2000; Kessler, Mickelson, and Williams 1999; Ren, Amick and Williams 1999). The social problem that is being investigated in this research experiment is the perceived discrimination and substance abuse among American Indian adolescents. With the relationship between the two being a little unclear, two hypotheses were made. The first hypothesis made was that discrimination results in internalizing symptoms that, in turn, lead to early use of alcohol and drugs (Whitebeck, McMorris, Chen & Stubben, 2001). The second hypothesis stated that discrimination stress elicits an angry response among American Indian early adolescents which increases the likelihood of delinquent behaviors and substance abuse.

The research method consisted of interviewing 220 children with 120 of those being boys and the other 100 being girls who participated in a baseline survey for a prevention study that was conducted on three American Indian reservations located in the upper Midwest (Whitebeck, McMorris, Chen & Stubben, 2001). With a few complications occurring, a final sample of 195 children that were all enrolled tribal members and in 5th to 8th grade. In order to recruit their sample group, the researchers took other tribal members advice on how to properly ask a member to participate. When asked to take the survey 85% of the families completed the survey, 10% of the families refused and 6% could not be located. The adolescents ranged from 9-16 years old with the average boy age at 12.2 years and the average girls age at 12.1 years...
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