The Impact of Intergenerational Cultural Dissonance on Alcohol Use Among Vietnamese and Cambodian Adolescents in the United States

Jeremy C Kane, Renee M Johnson, William C Robinson, David H. Jernigan, Tracy W. Harachi, Judith Bass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Rates of alcohol use may be increasing among Asian-American adolescents. Among youth from Asian-immigrant families, intergenerational cultural dissonance (ICD), a difference in acculturation between children and caregivers, is associated with adverse childhood outcomes. This study investigates the longitudinal association of ICD and alcohol use among youth from immigrant Vietnamese and Cambodian families in the United States. Methods: Two waves of annual data, wave 4 (baseline for this study) and wave 5 (follow-up), were obtained from the Cross-Cultural Families Project, a longitudinal study of 327 Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrant families in Washington State. The Asian-American Family Conflicts Scale was used to measure ICD. Adolescent alcohol use was measured as any drinking in the past 30 days. A multiple logistic regression model was estimated with the outcome, alcohol use, measured at the follow-up visit and all predictors, including ICD, measured at baseline. Sex, nationality, nativity, and acculturation were tested as modifiers of the ICD-alcohol use relationship. Results: Nine percent of adolescents (age range 13-18 years) reported alcohol use at baseline and this increased significantly (p <.0001) to 16% one year later. ICD was associated with increased odds of alcohol use at follow-up (odds ratio: 1.57; 95% confidence interval: 1.03-2.41; p = .04). None of the interactions were statistically significant. Conclusions: ICD is a significant predictor of alcohol use among Vietnamese and Cambodian adolescents. Interventions that should be targeted toward reducing ICD through enhancing parent-child communication and teaching bicultural competence skills may help prevent alcohol use problems among youth from immigrant families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
StateAccepted/In press - May 19 2015



  • Acculturation
  • Adolescents
  • Alcohol
  • Asian American
  • Immigration
  • Intergenerational cultural dissonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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