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J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2007;6(1):131-8.

Former Soviet Union immigrant and native-born adolescents in Israel: substance use and related problem behavior.

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  • 1School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA. richard@rci.rutgers.edu


Studies on immigration and adolescence show that youth experience a variety of emotional and cognitive adjustments as well as conflicts related to acculturation and the realities of life in their new country. Such conditions place many of them at increased risk for psychosocial problems including personal stress, interpersonal conflicts, mental illness, school failure, delinquency, substance use, and other risk-taking behavior. This prospective study compares the patterns of substance use and problem behaviors among 365 at-risk adolescents born in Israel and those who immigrated to that country from the Former Soviet Union. Findings show that Former Soviet Union youth tend to have higher levels of last 30-day alcohol and ecstasy use and binge drinking. Multiple regression shows binge drinking behavior related to trading property to obtain drugs; deterioration of school achievement; selling drugs; and time spent when being absent from school and hanging around during the day. Country of origin was not found related to this behavior. Further research is needed to study substance use and related problem behavior among immigrant youth controlling for the impact of acculturation and other factors.

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