Date of Award

7-1-2003

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

Ph.D.

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Lyle

Abstract

This study examines the factors contributing to the attitudes pre-adolescent African-American males develop regarding drug usage. The sample of the study was composed of 61 pre-adolescent African-American males who were residents of a public housing complex in Atlanta, Georgia. This is a poor community plagued by illicit drug activity and related crime that contributes to concerns about the negative impact this environment has on the lives and attitudes of young African-American males.

The study was based on the premise that a high level of Afrocentric values and a positive ethnic identity could be correlated to the presence of healthy drug attitudes in African-American male youth. This could be particularly significant for young African-American males because they have historically experienced greater levels 1 of drug- related problems. The Afrocentric conceptual framework was utilized to explain the relationships between the variables in the study.

An exploratory analysis approach was used to analyze data gathered from the 61 families in the University Homes. A research design that included quantitative and qualitative components was utilized. Statistical analysis of the data was conducted via descriptive statistics, the Pearson r correlation coefficient, and logistic binary regression. In addition, a focus group was used to add depth of understanding about the cultural constructs.

The researcher found no significant relationship between Afrocentric values and drug attitudes nor ethnic identity and drug attitudes. Spirituality was significantly correlated with the drug attitudes of the 11- and 12-year-olds in the sample. Spirituality, a component of the independent variable Afrocentric values, explained some variance in drug attitudes of the sample. The qualitative analysis revealed a consistent sense of ethnic pride and group belonging.

The conclusions drawn from the findings suggest that spirituality is an Afrocentric value that may contribute to the effectiveness of drug use prevention programs. The findings from the qualitative research suggest the group belonging component of ethnic identity may have implications for programs that contribute to the positive socialization of young African-American male youth. There are also implications for future research that examines the relationships between Afrocentric values and the drug attitudes of the older pre-adolescents.

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