Perceived discrimination and early substance abuse among American Indian children

Les B. Whitbeck, Dan R. Hoyt, Barbara J. McMorris, Xiaojin Chen, Jerry D. Stubben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

245 Scopus citations


This study investigated internalizing and externalizing symptoms as potential mediators of the relationship between perceived discrimination and early substance abuse among 195 American Indian 5 through 8 graders from three reservations that share a common culture (e.g., language, spiritual beliefs, and traditional practices) in the upper Midwest. The findings indicated that, although perceived discrimination contributed significantly to internalizing symptoms among the adolescents, internalizing symptoms were unrelated to early substance abuse. Rather, the effects of perceived discrimination on early substance abuse were mediated by adolescent anger and delinquent behaviors. The results are discussed in terms of the consequences of perceived discrimination on the development of American Indian early adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-424
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2001


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