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Influence of Acculturation and Socioeconomic Resources on Drinking and Alcohol Problems among US Latinas

Nina Mulia, DrPH1, Sarah Zemore, PhD1, and Yu Ye, MA2. (1) Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Bay Center, Building C, Suite 400, 6475 Christie Ave., Emeryville, CA 94608, 510-642-5208, nmulia@arg.org, (2) Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Bay Center, Building C, Suite 400, 6475 Christie Ave., Emeryville, CA 94608

Research indicates that problem drinking is on the rise among US Latinas. Data from a national study show that rates of frequent heavy drinking and alcohol problems increased roughly two-fold among Latina drinkers between 1984 and 1995, and that in 1995, their rates of frequent heavy drinking were more than double those of white women drinkers. Higher acculturation has been shown to predict both drinking and problem drinking among Latinas. The present analysis assesses whether socioeconomic factors might help to explain this effect of acculturation on alcohol use.

We use new data from the 2005 U.S. National Alcohol Survey (partial N=500) to examine relationships between acculturation, socioeconomic resources (education, employment, income) and alcohol outcomes, including drinking status, annual volume of alcohol consumed, frequency of drinking, heavy drinking, drunkenness, and alcohol-related problems (dependence symptoms, drinking consequences). As expected, Latinas who are more highly acculturated tend to have higher education, full-time employment, and higher incomes, and those with greater socioeconomic resources are more likely to drink. Among drinkers, higher education is further associated with more frequent drinking and higher annual alcohol consumption. Exploratory analyses revealed that education is not related to heavy drinking, drunkenness, and dependence symptoms.

These results suggest that higher education is linked to frequent drinking at moderate volumes, and thus might help to explain acculturation's effect on moderate drinking, but not on heavy drinking and alcohol problems. The mechanisms by which acculturation influences Latinas' alcohol intake may vary with the drinking outcome, warranting future investigation.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Alcohol Use, Alcohol Problems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues Among Hispanics

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA