Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Drug Alcohol Depend. 2023 September 01; 250: 109936. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2023.109936.


HHS Public Access.


Introduction: The relationship between perceived discrimination and risky drinking among American Indian (AI) youth is understudied, and the potential protective factors that may buffer this association are unknown. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine protective factors across individual, family, school, peer, and cultural domains of the social ecology that might attenuate the relationship between perceived discrimination and risky drinking among AI adolescents.

Method: Data were from the Substance Use Among American Indian Youth Study (Swaim and Stanley, 2018, 2021). AI youth who have used alcohol in their lifetime (n = 2516 within 62 schools) had an average age of 15.16 years (SD = 1.75) and 55.5% were female. Five sets of linear regressions were conducted. Risky drinking was regressed on demographic variables, alcohol use frequency, perceived discrimination, one protective factor (religiosity, parental monitoring, peer disapproval of alcohol use, school engagement, and ethnic identity), and one two-way interaction between perceived discrimination and the protective factor.

Results: Prevalence of risky drinking among lifetime drinkers was 40.1%. There were positive associations between perceived discrimination and risky drinking in all models (Bs range from.20 to.23; p <.001). Parental monitoring had a negative association with risky drinking (B = −0.255, p <.001). Religiosity was the only statistically significant moderator (B = −0.08, p = 0.01), indicating that religiosity weakened the relation between perceived discrimination and risky drinking.

Conclusions: Religiosity may represent an important protective factor that could help guide efforts to prevent risky drinking in the face of discrimination among AI adolescents.