Examining the impact of the Cultural Gap Narrative on Family Functioning and Youth Substance Use among the Health Study/Study of latino Youth (HCHS/SOL Youth) population

J Immigr Minor Health. 2022 Dec;24(6):1526-1533. doi: 10.1007/s10903-022-01350-8. Epub 2022 Mar 22.


The acculturation gap theory provides a complex illustration of how cultural orientations affect health behaviors among adolescents, by assuming that familial cultural orientation gaps lead to compromised family functioning and children adopting negative health behaviors. This analysis used three methods to conceptualize cultural gaps to examine the relationships between familial cultural orientation gaps and family functioning and substance use susceptibility among the Hispanic Community Children's Health Study/Study of Hispanic/Latino Youth population. Results did not support the assumptions behind the acculturation gap theory. The methods used to conceptualize cultural gaps did not illustrate consistent underlying trends when measuring the relationship between cultural gaps and substance use susceptibility. There was no evidence of mediation on substance use susceptibility by perceived family functioning for either cultural domains using each method. This analysis underscores the need to refine the framework behind the acculturation gap theory and how cultural gaps are measured among Hispanic/Latino youth.

Keywords: Acculturation; Acculturation gaps; Family functioning; Hispanic/Latino; Substance use.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Health Behavior
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders*