Statistical Analysis of FatherYouth Study


The purpose of this study is to ascertain the affects of drug-abusing fathers on the drug usage of their young adolescent children. A special targeted population were chosen for this study; they are the children of drug-abusing fathers who are HIV-positive or at risk for becoming HIV-positive.
The major factors used to determine the dependent measure of adolescent marijuana use include certain drug abusing father attributes (i.e., illegal drug use, HIV status, and methods of coping), and adolescent personality which is directly affected by the father-adolescent relationship and environmental factors (see pathway to adolescent marijuana use). The focus of this paper will be on the influences of parent-child relationship, father’s marijuana usage and HIV status of the father on the adolescent’s marijuana use. These chosen domains (i.e., set of related variables) are a part of the study needed to determine the pattern of relationship between father drug use and adolescent drug use.
This research is an extension of an earlier study of the psychosocial factors related to the AIDS-risk behaviors and methods of coping among male injection drug users [e.g., 1]. By focusing on the parental approach, it is hope that this information will allow a father to be a more effective parent and assist him in raising his children in a way that they wouldn’t need to turn to drugs to cope with life’s difficulties (i.e., having a drug abusing father that is at risk of becoming HIV positive).



Participants were male volunteers recruited from AIDS clinics and methadone maintenance treatment clinics, with a history of drug abuse (i.e., must have engaged in either injection drug use or another form of illicit drug abuse during the past five years). Only those volunteers who agreed to be interviewed along with one of their 13-20-year-old children were recruited for participation. In order to qualify for participation in the study, the men had to be either living with the child or have seen the child at least four times in the past year (majority of the children live with the mother).
A total of one hundred and one father-child pairs participated in this study; 71 identified themselves as African-American and 27 identified themselves as White (the other three identified themselves as other). All father participants had used intravenous drugs or illicit drugs (other than marijuana or in addition to marijuana) by a non-injection route of administration within the past five years. Participants that were not considered for this study include those who had AIDS dementia, those who were too sick to participate in the study, and those who had a major psychiatric disorder (i.e., bipolar disorder or schizophrenia). Each patient voluntarily reported his own HIV status. Over 98% of the subjects’ reports of their HIV status were confirmed by the ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) and the Western Blot tests. Of the 101 father participants, 38% were HIV positive and 62% were HIV negative. Only children who were already aware of their fathers’ HIV status were qualified to participate in the study.

After providing informed consent, each father-child pair was interviewed for approximately four hours using a structured questionnaire. The interviewers were either counselors or social workers at an AIDS clinic or a methadone maintenance treatment clinic and had extensive experience working with substance abusers and/or HIV positive patients. Every attempt was made to match the participants and the interviewers in terms of their ethnic backgrounds. The interviews were conducted privately and the confidentiality of the data was strictly preserved. Each father-child pair participant was given $50 to compensate for his/her time and expenses.

The scales used in this study were based on their item (question) inter-correlation.
These scales were grouped into four domains: Father’s attributes, father-child relationship, adolescent’s personality, and environmental factors.
The father attributes include his HIV status, illegal drug use, and methods of coping with HIV or the risk of having HIV. The measure of the father’s illegal drug use was derived from a combined score of the father’s report of his illegal drug use and the child’s report of the father’s illegal drug use. It is found in previous studies that by combining the parent and children’s responses to measures provides a greater predictability than using one source alone.
The father-child relationship domain include measures