Family connectedness describes the quality of connections within a family and is important for wellbeing in adolescence. It is a protective factor against risky behaviour. Substance use is a key risky behaviour that emerges in adolescence, with tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption of particular concern for Pacific youth. Although smoking rates among Pacific youth have been declining over time, they are still twice as likely to be regular smokers as their non-Pacific, non-Māori peers. Pacific youth are also more likely to report drinking five or more alcoholic drinks in one session than non-Pacific, non-Māori youth. To deter Pacific youth from taking up smoking or engaging in excessive alcohol consumption and, therefore, reduce health inequalities arising from such substance use, it is important to understand the relationships with protective factors such as family connectedness.
The HPA’s Youth Insights Survey (YIS) is a key source of New Zealand data on adolescent substance use. The YIS monitors Year 10 students’ behaviours, attitudes and knowledge on health-related topics including tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, and protective factors such
as family connectedness.