Abstract: Youth Drug and Alcohol Use in São Sebastião, Brazil: The Role of Community Risk Factors (Society for Prevention Research 24th Annual Meeting)

85 Youth Drug and Alcohol Use in São Sebastião, Brazil: The Role of Community Risk Factors

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Arthur de Oliveira Correa, MA, PhD Student, University of Miami, Miami, FL
Eric C. Brown, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Miami, Miami, FL
Sheila Giardini Murta, PhD, Professor, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil
Introduction:Drug and alcohol use are among the leading causes of harm and premature death in youth populations worldwide. Among Brazilian youth, substance use rates are a cause for concern: 42.4% and 10.6% of youth (ages from 10 to 19 years or older) used drugs and alcohol in the past year, respectively (2010 survey by the National Secretariat on Drug Policies). A science-based approach to preventing these outcomes calls for interventions that target associated risk and protective factors, in all domains of young people’s lives (i.e. community, school, family and peers). In the community context, factors such as availability of drugs, neighborhood disorganization and having laws and norms permissive of substance use are important predictors of youth drug and alcohol consumption. The objectives of this study were to (1) validate the factor structure of community risk factors adapted for the Brazilian context, and (2) examine the concurrent validity of these community risk factors in predicting recent (30-day) drug and alcohol use among Brazilian youth in a community sample.

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.