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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2012 Sep;38(5):395-402. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2012.703735.

Fatherhood roles and drug use among young American Indian men.

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  • 1Center for American Indian Health, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health , Albuquerque, NM 87109, USA.



High rates of substance abuse among young American Indian (AI) fathers pose multigenerational challenges for AI families and communities.


The objective of this study was to describe substance use patterns among young AI fathers and examine the intersection of substance use with men's fatherhood roles and responsibilities.


As part of a home-visiting intervention trial for AI teen mothers and their children, in 2010 we conducted a descriptive study of fatherhood and substance use on three southwestern reservations. Substance use and parenting data were collected from n = 87 male partners of adolescent mothers using audio computer-assisted self-interviews.


Male partners were on average 22.9 years old, primarily living with their children (93%), unmarried (87%), and unemployed (70%). Lifetime substance use was high: 80% reported alcohol; 78% marijuana; 34% methamphetamines; 31% crack/cocaine; and 16% reported drinking binge in the past 6 months. Substance use was associated with history of alcohol abuse among participants' fathers (but not mothers); participants' poor relationships with their own fathers; unemployment status; and low involvement in child care.


Drug and alcohol abuse may be obstructing ideal fatherhood roles among multiple generations of AI males.


Targeting drug prevention among young AI men during early fatherhood may provide special opportunity to reduce substance use and improve parenting. Intergenerational approaches may hold special promise.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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