Inhalant use among urban American Indian youth

Matthew Owen Howard, R. Dale Walker, Patricia Silk Walker, Linda B. Cottler, Wilson M. Compton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Aims. To assess the prevalence of inhalant use among urban American Indian youth and to examine differences between inhalant users and non-users. Design. Baseline (T1) self-report questionnaires completed in 5th-6th grade and at seven annual follow-up assessments (T2-T8). Settings. Seattle metropolitan area. Participants. Two hundred and twenty-four Indian youth. Measurements. Youth-completed measures of substance use, ethnic self-identity, involvement in traditional Indian activities, family conflict, family history of alcoholism, peer and sibling deviance, self-esteem delinquency, aggression, anxiety, depression, sensation seeking, conduct disorder and alcohol dependence. Findings. Lifetime inhalant use was reported by 12.3% of adolescents. At T1, inhalant users had significantly lower perceived self-worth and average annual household incomes and significantly greater density of familial alcoholism and expression of aggressive and delinquent conduct than non-users. Aggressive behavior was the most important T1 predictor of inhalant use. Lifetime conduct and alcohol dependence disorders were 3.3 and 2.6 times more prevalent among inhalant users than non-users at T5. Inhalant users had more extensive deviant peer networks, were more sensation-seeking, and evidenced lower perceived self-worth than non-users at T8. Conclusions. Inhalant use was less prevalent in this particular sample of urban Indian adolescents than in most studies of reservation Indian youth. As with other studies of inhalant abuse, aggressive and delinquent males of low SES and low-perceived self-worth with family histories of alcohol dependence, were at highest risk for inhalant use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-95
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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