FAMILY HEADSHIP AND DRUG ADDICTION AMONG MALE PUERTO RICAN YOUTHS: AN INVESTIGATION OF QUALITY OF FAMILY LIFE

ANA MARIA PUYO, Fordham University

Abstract

Research conducted on the impact of family life on drug usage has examined one-parent and two-parent families; often emphasizing the large number of one-parent families found among the addicts' families. One-parent families, for the most part, have been considered a less preferred type of family in relation to two-parent families, but few comparisons have been made between stable/well organized broken and unbroken homes. This research is an attempt to fill this gap, by exploring the family factors that have contributed in one-parent/two-parent homes to the avoidance of or experimentation with heavy drugs among a group of young Puerto Rican males residing in neighborhoods where drugs were available.^ The primary objective of the study was to explore the quality of Puerto Rican family life in the homes of addicts and none-addicts, whether in one-parent or two-parent families. Is quality of family life the discriminating variable in drug addiction among male Puerto Rican youths? The research has taken the position that the addicts and the non-addicts included in the sample perceived their quality of family life differently regardless of being raised in one-parent or two-parent homes.^ The quality of family life concept refers to the home atmosphere either conducive or not conducive to foster close relationships and mutual understanding among the family members. This family life has been analyzed in terms of a selected sample of family variables (socio-economic status, family size, ordinal position, discipline/supervision, extended family, parents' personality characteristics, and affectional identification with parents) in the light of the social controls conceptual scheme employed by Nye in his research into family relationships and delinquent behavior.^ This study is a secondary analysis since the data utilized were originally collected for other research purposes. The total sample for the current study included fifty-nine of the one-hundred cases used in the original study. The informants were intensively interviewed. The structured interview was followed by an extensive taped report. However, this investigation has been based primarily on qualitative data.^ The overall results of the qualitative analysis of data revealed that most of the dominant patterns which emerged in the exploration of the family variables clearly differentiated the homes of the addicts and the non-addicts.^ Main Findings. The discriminating economic factor was the type of economic dependence or independence fostered by the mothers in one-parent homes and by both parents in two-parent families.^ Addiction was more prominent among large families than among small ones.^ The youth's ordinal position among siblings was significant mainly among one-parent families.^ An outstanding difference was found in the disciplinary and supervisional techniques among the families of the addicts and the non-addicts. Close relationships between the parent(s) and the sons proved to be the best means to provide effective disciplinary and supervisional measures based on indirect controls.^ The presence of at least one strong and competent parental figure at home was the significant factor discovered among the one-parent and two-parent families of these Puerto Rican non-addicts.^ Sons' identification with their parents was related to the aviodance of drug addiction. Non-addicted youths will follow their parent(s) ways in raising their own children.^ The conclusions of this exploratory investigation strongly support the postulate that the quality of family life was closely associated to drug addiction or its aviodance. This finding is consistent with the theory of social controls since indirect and internalized controls were operative in the one-parent homes as well as in the two-parent families of the non-addicts.^

Subject Area

Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

PUYO, ANA MARIA, "FAMILY HEADSHIP AND DRUG ADDICTION AMONG MALE PUERTO RICAN YOUTHS: AN INVESTIGATION OF QUALITY OF FAMILY LIFE" (1980). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8012801.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8012801

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