Family structure and adolescent alcohol use problems: Extending popular explanations to American Indians

Tamela Mc Nulty Eitle, Michelle Johnson-Jennings, David J. Eitle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Competing explanations of the relationship between family structure and alcohol use problems are examined using a sample of American Indian adolescents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Living in a single-parent family is found to be a marker for the unequal distribution of stress exposure and parental alcohol use, but the effects of other family structures like non-parent families and the presence of under 21-year-old extended family or non-family members emerge or remain as risk or protective factors for alcohol use problems after a consideration of SES, family processes, peer socialization, and social stress. In particular, a non-parent family structure that has not been considered in prior research emerged as a protective family structure for American Indian adolescent alcohol use problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1467-1479
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial assistance for this study was provided to the authors by National Institutes of Drug Abuse (1R01DA034466-01) and the National Center For Research Resources P20RR016455 (09, 10, and 11). The design and content of this study are solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NCRR or the National Institutes of Health. This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.


  • Alcohol use
  • American Indians
  • Family structure
  • Native Americans
  • Stress exposure
  • Substance use


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