The Indirect Effect of Ethnic Identity on Marijuana Use Through School Engagement: An African American High School Sample

Chelsea E. Arsenault, Sycarah Fisher, Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Jessica Barnes-Najor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: African American marijuana use is associated with many negative social, emotional, and health-related consequences. Of significance, over recent years this population has shown an increase in use. In the literature, ethnic identity and school engagement are prominent protective factors against substance use. Objective: This study will examine how these protective factors are related, specifically whether ethnic identity mitigates risk through school engagement to reduce marijuana use. Method: A path analysis was conducted with 437 African American high school students (41% male) from Midwestern schools to examine the role of school engagement in the relationship between ethnic identity and marijuana use. Results: The results revealed that students high in ethnic identity have higher school engagement, which lessens their frequency of marijuana use. Therefore, ethnic identity reduces marijuana use by increasing student's school engagement. Conclusions/Importance: The results offer a clearer picture of how ethnic identity and school engagement protect against marijuana use. The results also present insight into how to protect students who are low in ethnic identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1444-1453
Number of pages10
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 29 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by NCATS grant 5KL2-TR001996; awarded to Sycarah Fisher and NIDA grant K08-032296 awarded to Danelle Stevens-Watkins.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • African American
  • Marijuana
  • ethnic identity
  • high school students
  • school engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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