Fatherhood roles and drug use among young American Indian men

Nicole Neault, Britta Mullany, Julia Powers, Valerie Coho-Mescal, Sean Parker, John Walkup, Allison Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: High rates of substance abuse among young American Indian (AI) fathers pose multigenerational challenges for AI families and communities. Objective: The objective of this study was to describe substance use patterns among young AI fathers and examine the intersection of substance use with men's fatherhood roles and responsibilities. Methods: As part of a home-visiting intervention trial for AI teen mothers and their children, in 2010 we conducted a descriptive study of fatherhood and substance use on three southwestern reservations. Substance use and parenting data were collected from n = 87 male partners of adolescent mothers using audio computer-assisted self-interviews. Results: Male partners were on average 22.9 years old, primarily living with their children (93), unmarried (87), and unemployed (70). Lifetime substance use was high: 80 reported alcohol; 78 marijuana; 34 methamphetamines; 31 crack/cocaine; and 16 reported drinking binge in the past 6 months. Substance use was associated with history of alcohol abuse among participants' fathers (but not mothers); participants' poor relationships with their own fathers; unemployment status; and low involvement in child care. Conclusion: Drug and alcohol abuse may be obstructing ideal fatherhood roles among multiple generations of AI males. Scientific Significance: Targeting drug prevention among young AI men during early fatherhood may provide special opportunity to reduce substance use and improve parenting. Intergenerational approaches may hold special promise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-402
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • American Indian
  • Drug use
  • Fatherhood
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Fatherhood roles and drug use among young American Indian men'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this