Cultural protective factors for community risks and substance use among rural african american adolescents

Aashir Nasim, Anita Fernander, Tiffany G. Townsend, Rosalie Corona, Faye Z. Belgrave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Relatively little attention has been afforded to protective factors for community-level risks among non-urban populations. This study examined the extent to which traditional cultural attitudes and behaviors of 137 African American adolescents (ages 12-17) from a rural community moderated the relationship between perceived community disorganization and substance use behaviors. Results from hierarchical linear regression revealed that traditional cultural attitudes and behaviors were differentially related to community disorganization and adolescent substance use. In terms of protective influences, religious beliefs and practices and traditional family practices moderated the effect of community disorganization on substance use. Specifically, religious beliefs and practices demonstrated a protective-stabilizing effect as community disorganization increased; traditional family practices demonstrated a protective but reactive effect. Attitudes of cultural mistrust increased youth's susceptibility to substance use as community disorganization worsenedvulnerable and reactive. The findings underscore the importance of examining the link between cultural and contextual factors in an attempt to understand the etiology of substance use among rural African American adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-336
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • African Americans
  • adolescents
  • protective factors
  • risks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)


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