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Early-Onset Alcohol Use Among Native American Youth: Examining Female Caretaker Influence


Department of Sociology/Anthropology, University of Minnesota-Duluth (


This article investigates the influence of female caretaker substance use on early-onset youth drinking among Native American families in the Northern Midwest. Data include 603 Native American families, with reports from female caretakers and youths aged 10 – 13 years. Two potential caretaker influences are taken into account: adolescent modeling of caretaker behaviors and the effects of caretaker substance abuse on parenting. Results of bivariate and path analysis provide support for the influence of caretaker substance use on adolescent drinking from both perspectives; these effects vary, however, depending on the type or degree of adult substance use, or both.