Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Health-compromising behavior is a leading cause of death among
American Indian (Al) adolescents. Examples of these behaviors include:
smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, and lack of seatbelt use. Theories that
predict which Al youth are most at risk for executing these behaviors are needed.
Social learning theory (SL T) has shown adolescents' behaviors are
sometimes highly correlated with their parents' behaviors across different ethnic
groups. However, there has been little previous research done with Als.
The present study attempted to determine if SL T was applicable to Al
adolescents and their parents with regard to four health-related behaviors:
cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, seatbelt use, and religiosity. The first
three were chosen because of the high number of Al adolescent deaths
associated with them. Religiosity was included because high religiosity scores
have been shown to negatively correlate with health-compromising behaviors in
some studies. The present study provided partial support for SL T when applied
to Al youth. For example, there were positive correlations found between
parents' smoking and if the youths have ever smoked regularly or smoke
Little support was found for SL T with regard to alcohol consumption (i.e.,
the overall correlation was not significant). The exception to this was when
daughters were correlated with fathers. How often the father drank and if he
binged were positively correlated with how often the daughter drank and if she
ever binged. There were strong correlations between parents' seatbelt use and
similar use of their adolescents, thus supporting the theory. Also, strong positive
correlations were found between the religiosity of the parents' and the youth.
Further, religiosity did show negative correlations with health-compromising
behaviors among the youth. There was also a sex difference found, with female
youth having stronger negative correlations than the male youth.
There were 290 Al adolescents in this nationally representative sample,
136 mate and 154 female. All the behaviors were measured via self-report, as
was the identification of the adolescent's ethnicity.
Limitations of this research, implications for future research, and areas for
prevention/intervention with Al youth at risk are discussed.
Williams, Amy Jo, "The Effects of Parental Modeling on the Health-Related Behaviors of American Indian Adolescents: A Culturally Specific Investigation of Social Learning Theory" (2001). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 6297.
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