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Substance Abuse

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Why study Substance Abuse?

Drug and alcohol abuse are significant public health problems among people of all ages, economic backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. Drug use may involve illegal drugs like cocaine or marijuana, or it may involve the misuse and abuse of prescribed medications.

Substance abuse is linked with many negative health-related consequences.  For example, substance use can exacerbate physical health conditions and mental health problems and vulnerabilities such as depression, anxiety, and suicide risk.  The prolonged misuse of drugs of many types can lead to long term changes in the chemical balances in the brain.

These public health problems and health related consequences highlight the need for robust culturally sensitive research designed to improve understanding and address the occurrence of Substance Abuse as it affects vulnerable populations in this community.

What are we doing at El Centro to help prevent Substance Abuse and other forms of Substance use in racial, ethnic, and sexual minority groups?

El Centro supports clinicians and researchers working to develop and test innovative treatments to reduce or eliminate alcohol and drug use.  The interventions that have been developed and tested range from office-based to home-based to computer-assisted treatments.  The participants have included both adolescents and adult women of Hispanic and African American descent and their families.


El Centro Studies Related to Substance Abuse:

"CIFFTA-Prevention: Culturally Informed, Flexible Family Therapy for Adolescents”, Daniel Santisteban, PhD, PI

"CIFFTA-Tele: Culturally Informed, Flexible Family Therapy for Adolescents”, Daniel Santisteban, PhD, PI

"CIFFTA-Treatment: Culturally Informed, Flexible Family Therapy for Adolescents”, Daniel Santisteban, PhD, PI

"SET-Recovery / Healthy Home”, Victoria Mitrani, PhD, PI

"The Role of the Family in Recovery and Relapse for Women in Substance Abuse Treatment”, Victoria Mitrani, PhD, PI

"Family Therapy Mechanisms in HIV+ Women in Drug Recovery”, Victoria Mitrani, PhD, PI

"Project VIDA: Violence, Intimate Relationships, and Drugs among Latinos,” Elias Vasquez, PhD, PI

"NIDA Diversity Supplement”, Daniel Santisteben, PhD, PI

"Electronic Alcohol Screening Intervention (EASI)”, Brian McCabe, PhD, PI

"College Alcohol Problems Scale (CAPS)”, Brian McCabe, PhD, PI

"Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)”, Daniel Santisteben, PhD, PI

"Comparing Alcohol Screens in College (CASC)”, Brian McCabe, PhD, PI

El Centro Publications Related to Substance Abuse:

Burns, M.J., Feaster, D.J., Mitrani, V.B., Ow, C., Szapocznik, J. (2008).  Stress processes in HIV+ African American mothers: Moderating effects of drug abuse history. Anxiety, Stress and Coping: An International Journal. 21(1), 95-116. PMCID: PMC2474797.

De Santis, J., Gonzalez-Guarda, R.M., Vasquez, E., DeLeon, D. (2014). Las ramas enredadas: Sexual risk, substance abuse, and intimate partner violence among Hispanic men who have sex with men. Journal of Transcultural Nursing., 25(1), 23-32 PMCID: PMC3867556

De Santis, J.P., Provencio-Vasquez, E., DeLeon, D.A., & Gonzalez-Guarda, R.M. (2012). Relationships as risk for HIV infection: High risk sex, substance abuse, and violence among Hispanic men who have sex with men. Horizonte de Enfermeria, 23 (1), 27-39.

Feaster, D. J., Burns, M. J., Brincks, A. M., Prado, G., Mitrani, V. B., Mauer, M. H., et al. (2010). Structural ecosystems therapy for HIV+ African-American women and drug abuse relapse. Family Process, 49(2), 204-219.

Feaster, D. J., Mitrani, V. B., Burns, M. J., McCabe, B. E., Brincks, A. M., Rodriguez, A. E., et al. (2010). A randomized controlled trial of structural ecosystems therapy for HIV medication adherence and substance abuse relapse prevention. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 111(3), 227-234. PMCID: PMC2950218

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., McCabe, B. E., Vermeesch, A. l., Cianelli, R., Peragallo-Montano, N., Florom-Smith, A.L. (2013). Cultural phenomena and the syndemic factor: Substance abuse, violence, HIV and depression among Hispanic women. Annals of Anthropological Practice, 36 (2), 212-231.

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., McCabe, B. E., Florom-Smith, A., Cianelli, R., & Peragallo, N. (2011). Substance abuse, violence, HIV, and depression: An underlying syndemic factor among Latinas. Nursing Research, 60(3), 182-189. PMCID: PMC3171180

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., Florom-Smith, A., & Thomas, T. (2011). A syndemic model of substance abuse, intimate partner violence, HIV infection, and mental health among Hispanics. Public Health Nursing, 28(4), 366-378. PMCID: PMC3137267

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., Vasquez, E. P., Urrutia, M., Villarruel, A. M., & Peragallo, N. (2011). Hispanic women’s experiences with substance abuse, intimate partner violence, and risk for HIV. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 22(1), 46-54. PMCID: PMC3070462

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., Ortega, J., Vasquez, E. P., & De Santis, J. (2010). La mancha negra: Substance abuse, violence, and sexual risks among Hispanic males. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 32(1), 128-148. PMCID: PMC3070461

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., Peragallo, N., Lynch, A., & Nemes, S. (2010). Drugs, women and violence in the Americas: U.S. results of a multi-centric pilot project (phase 1). Revista Colombiana De Psiquiatria, 39, 46-55. PMCID: PMC3095439

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., Peragallo, N., Lynch, A., Nemes, S. (2010). Drugs, women and violence in the Americas: U.S. Quantitative results of a multi-centric pilot project (phase 2). Revista Colombiana De Psiquiatria, 39, 66-83. PMCID: PMC3098460

Gonzalez-Guarda, R.M. (2009). The Syndemic Orientation: Implications for eliminating Hispanic health disparities. Hispanic Health Care International, 7(3), 114-115.

Gonzalez-Guarda, R.M., Peragallo, N., Urrutia, M.T., Vasquez, E.P. & Mitrani, V.B. (2008). HIV risk, substance abuse, and intimate partner violence among Hispanic women and their intimate partners. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. 19 (4), 252-266.

McCabe B.E., Santisteban D.A., Mena M.P., Duchene D.M., McLean C., Monroe M. (2013). Engagement, retention, and abstinence for three types of opioid users in Florida. Substance Use and Misuse, 48(8), 623 - 634. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2013.800112. Epub 2013 Jun 10.

Mena, M.P., Mitrani,V.B. , Mason,C.A., Muir, J.A., Santisteban, D.A. (2008). Extended parent-child separations: Impact on adolescent functioning and possible gender differences. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing. 13 (1), 50-52.

Mitrani, V. B., McCabe, B. E., Burns, M. J., & Feaster, D. J. (2012). Family mechanisms of structural ecosystems therapy for HIV-seropositive women in drug recovery. Health Psychology, 31(5), 591-600. PMCID: PMC3884197

Mitrani, V. B., Feaster, D. J., Weiss-Laxer, N. S., & McCabe, B. E. (2011). Malaise, motivation and motherhood: Predictors of engagement in behavioral interventions from a randomized controlled trial for HIV+ women in drug abuse recovery. AIDS & Behavior, 15(2), 396-406.PMCID: PMC305134

Mitrani, V. B., McCabe, B. E., Robinson, C., Weiss-Laxer, N. S., & Feaster, D. J. (2010). Structural ecosystems therapy for recovering HIV-positive women: Child, mother, and parenting outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(6), 746-755. PMCID: PMC3051342

Mitrani, V.B., Weiss-Laxer, N.S., Feaster, D.J. (2009). Factors related to loss of child custody in HIV+ women in drug abuse recovery. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 35(5), 320-324. PMCID: PMC2838176

Mitrani, V.B., Weiss-Laxer, N.S., Ow, C.E., Burns, M.J., Ross, S. & Feaster, D.J. (2009). Examining family networks of HIV+ women in drug recovery: Challenges and opportunities. Families, Systems, and Health, 27(3) 267-283 PMCID: PMC2845531

Robbins, M.S., Mitrani, V.B., Zarate, M., Perez, G.A., Coatsworth, J.D., & Szapocznik (2002) Change processes in family therapy with Hispanic adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 24(4), 505-519.

Santisteban, D. A., Mena, M. P., & McCabe, B. E. (2011). Preliminary results for an adaptive family treatment for drug abuse in Hispanic youth. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(4), 610-614. PMCID: PMC3626405

Santisteban, D.A. & Owenz, M.B. (2011) Existing gaps and new directions in the treatment of conduct problems and drug use disorders in Latino adolescents. In N. Cabrera, Natasha, F. Villarruel, & H.E. Fitzgerald (Eds). Child Psychology and Mental Health: Cultural and Ethno-Racial Perspectives: Vol 2: Latina/o American Children’s Mental Health: Prevention and Treatment. ABC-CLIO Inc, Santa Barbara, California.

Santisteban, D.A., & Mena, M.P. (2009). Culturally informed and flexible family therapy for adolescents: A tailored and integrative treatment for Hispanic youth. Family Process, 48(2), 253-268.PMCID:PMC2731703

Vasquez, E. P., Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., & De Santis, J. (2011). Acculturation, depression, self-esteem, and substance abuse among Hispanic men. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 32(2), 90-97 PMCID: PMC3182478

De Santis, J.P, Valdes, B., Provencio-Vasquez, E., Patsdaughter, C.A., Gattamorta, K. A.(2014). A comparison of substance use behaviors of Hispanic men by sexual orientation. Nursing and Health, 2(1), 9-17. doi:10.13189/nh.2014.020102.

Gonzalez- Guarda, R. M. (2013) Pushing the syndemic research agenda forward: A comment on Pitpitan et al. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 45(2), 135-6. PMCID: PMC3820103

Santisteban, D.A., Mena, M.P., & Abalo, C. (2013). Bridging diversity and family systems: Culturally informed and flexible family treatment for adolescents. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 2(4), 246-263. doi: 10.1037cfp0000013.


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