A retrospective evaluation of a culturally sensitive prevention program for Latino/a youth
Moore, Carla Sutton
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The 2010 U.S. Census Bureau most recently reported that more than half the growth in the U.S. total population was due to the increase in the Latino population. Georgia, reportedly, has the third-fastest-growing Latino population of any state and the 6th largest Latino population in the nation. Latino/a adolescents are the fastest growing ethnic age group in America. Given the overrepresentation of youth in Latino communities, issues facing youth are disproportionately going to affect Latinos. Georgia’s Latino youth experience problems in education, the labor force, physical and mental health issues, language barriers, and access to care and resources. As such, Latino/a youth face multiple risk factors including substance use, and the need to develop culturally sensitive prevention programs and research continues to be a prominent issue for the state. The development of substance abuse behaviors in the Latino population begin as early as pre-pubescent years or early adolescence. This study provided a retrospective evaluation of the Clinic for Education, Treatment, and Prevention of Addictions (CETPA) culturally sensitive prevention program employed to Latino/a alumni (N= 78), ages 13-20. More explicitly, this study examined the impact of the youth’s participation in the prevention program on the youth’s reported substance use, and the moderating effects of self-esteem, acculturation, ethnic identity, and values on the relationship between participation in the program and substance use. Results of this study suggested that there were no significant differences between the type of program participants were in and their reported substance use. Researcher was unable to determine the effect of number of years in the program on substance use due to multicollinearity. The results also suggested that there were no significant moderating effects on the relationship between number of years in the program and substance use. However, findings revealed a relationship between protective factors, specifically self-esteem and adherence to Latino/a values, and substance use. The current research represents an important social justice initiative in counseling psychology and an initial stride in culturally relevant program development tailored specifically to Latino/a youth in Georgia. Limitations, suggestions for future research, and counseling implications are discussed.