Methods. This study used data from two sequential cohorts of 7th graders attending schools on five reservations located in the Northern Plains and Southwest (n=413; females = 52.8%). Predictors of intentions to use included future orientation (5 items), self-determination (4 items), and ethnic pride (7 items) where EP was hypothesized to predict FO and SD. Dependent variables were intentions to use alcohol, to use marijuana, and to get drunk in the next 3 months (1=never; 5=10 or more times). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test for model fit of FO, SD, and EP, and an SEM model was then estimated for each dependent measure, with indirect and direct effects specified between EP and the dependent variables.
Results. CFA indicated excellent fit for FO, SD and EP (CFI=.99; RMSE=.04, SRMR=.03). Each SEM model also showed excellent fit, with CFIs ranging from .98 to .99. EP positively predicted FO and SD (p<.001), and there were indirect effects of EP on intentions to drink alcohol, get drunk, and use marijuana in the last 3 months but no direct effects. FO and SD were both associated with lower intentions to get drunk and to use marijuana in the next 3 months but only FO predicted lower intentions to use alcohol. Females were more likely to say they would use alcohol, after controlling for other variables but no sex differences were found for drunkenness or marijuana.
Conclusions. Results are consistent with several studies of youth from specific tribal groups (Navajo and Lumbee) that found measures of ethnic identity to be associated with positive indicators of psychosocial adjustment and mental health. As in one of those studies, our results also indicated that once these relationships are accounted for, ethnic identity has no direct relationship on intentions to use alcohol or marijuana. However, future orientation and self-determination are inversely related to intentions to use alcohol and marijuana, thus indicating their potential as targets in substance use prevention.