Category: Cultural Diversity / Vulnerable Populations
The Mediating Effects of Alcohol Use and Parental Involvement on Violence Perpetration and Victimization among Multiracial and Monoracial Youth
The population of multiracial children is growing significantly in the United States as multiracial births are occurring at a faster rate than monoracial births (Cooney & Radina, 2000). Though a cadre of all youth experience various problem behaviors, such as delinquency, interpersonal violence and substance use (Centers for Disease Control, 2000), multiracial adolescents appear to be at an increased risk (Choi, Harachi, Gillmore, & Catalano, 2006). Early work suggests that this risk may be predicated upon their multiracial background becoming more salient during the already challenging developmental period of adolescence (Campbell & Eggerling-Boeck, 2006; Udry, Li, & Hendrickson-Smith, 2003).
Despite the growing population of multiracial youth, few empirical studies have examined the rates, patterns of behaviors, and the determinants of problem behaviors among multiracial adolescents. This study attempted to extend upon these findings and examined the mediating effects of alcohol use and parental involvement on physical violence perpetration and victimization among multiracial youth. Participants were high school students between the ages of 14 and 18 (N = 372; 50% multiracial) selected from a previously collected national dataset. Alcohol use was assessed via consumption levels and frequency of use. Parental involvement was measured using items examining adolescent’s perceptions of parental monitoring of daily activities and authentic/meaningful interactions.
Results using the PROCESS macro for SPSS suggest that multiracial identity was positively related to alcohol use (β = 1.12, p < .01) and lack of parental involvement (β = .81, p < .05). Alcohol use and lack of parental involvement among multiracial youth was positively related to violence perpetration (β = .13, p < .001; β = .06, p < .001) and victimization (β = .02, p < .05). Alcohol use partially meditated the relationship between multiracial identity and violence perpetration (ab = .149, SE = .062, CI = .046; .294) as well as victimization (ab = .062, SE = .030, CI = .017; .135). Further, parental involvement partially mediated the relationship between multiracial identity and violence perpetration (ab = .049, SE = .031, CI = .004; .127). Parental involvement did not mediate the relationship between multiracial identity and victimization.
The results are consistent with the previous findings that non-clinical multiracial adolescents reported higher rates of initiation than monoracial groups for several substances and violent behavior. Extending upon current findings, our results suggest that higher levels of alcohol consumed by multiracial youth might make them more likely to be victimized compared to monoracial youth. This risk may be predicated on the fact that multiracial youth are more likely to perpetrate physical violence and therefore may also be more likely to experience physical retaliation. Implications regarding the cyclical nature of alcohol use and lack of parental involvement leading to violence perpetration and victimization will be discussed.