Trajectories of Acculturation and Enculturation in Relation to Heavy Episodic Drinking and Marijuana Use in a Sample of Mexican American Serious Juvenile Offenders

Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher: MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice (ADJJ)

Author(s): Alex R. Piquero; Anne Mauricio; Delfino Vargas-Chanes; Michelle Little; Laurie Chassin; George P. Knight; Sandra H. Losoya

Research Area: Justice; Social conditions

Keywords: Substance abuse; Youth offenders; Juvenile justice; Hispanic population

Type: Report

Coverage: Arizona


This study examines the longitudinal relations of multiple dimensions of acculturation and enculturation to heavy episodic drinking and marijuana use in a sample of 300 male, Mexican-American, serious juvenile offenders. We track trajectories between ages 15 and 20 and also consider the effects of participants' time spent residing in supervised settings during these years. Results showed some (although not entirely consistent) support for the hypothesis that bicultural adaptation is most functional in terms of lowered substance use involvement. The current findings demonstrate the importance of examining these relations longitudinally and among multiple dimensions of acculturation and enculturation, and they call into question simple models that suggest that greater acculturation is associated with greater substance use among Mexican-American adolescents.