Method:A sample of 910 public high schools students from a community in the metro area of Brasília completed the translated and adapted version of the Communities That Care Youth Survey (CTCYS), a self-report questionnaire that assesses the level of exposure of youth to risk and protective factors for drug use, violence, and delinquency. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation models were conducted on six risk factors. Modification indices guided adjustments in the models, when appropriate.
Results: Good model fit criteria (CFI > 0.95, TLI > 0.95, RMSEA < 0.05) were attained only by Perceived Availability of Drugs, Low Neighborhood Attachment and Transitions and Mobility risk factors. Correlations with recent substance use were significant (p < .05), but small, for Perceived Availability of Drugs (r = .24), and larger for Perceived Availability of Handguns (r= .74). Other community risk factors were not significantly correlated to recent substance use.
Conclusions: Findings support the structure of three risk factors: Perceived Availability of Drugs, Low Neighborhood Attachment and Transitions and Mobility. These measures may be useful for future assessment of community needs and planning of preventive interventions, but results did not provide strong evidence of concurrent validity with substance use outcomes. Further research is necessary to better identify the impact of community risk factors on youth drug and alcohol use. Expansion of data collection to include more diverse samples is recommended for a better understanding of the effect of these predictors on substance use among Brazilian youth, as well as to obtain more representative data of the country.