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Contextualizing acculturation's effects: The impact of changing religious involvement and social support on Latinas' drinking

Sarah Zemore, PhD1, Lee Ann Kaskutas, DrPH1, Jason Bond, PhD2, and Nina Mulia, DrPH1. (1) Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Bay Center, Building C, Suite 400, 6475 Christie Ave., Emeryville, CA 94608, 510-642-5208, szemore@arg.org, (2) Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Bay Center Bldg C, Suite 400, 6475 Christie Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608

Among Latina women, higher acculturation has been linked to higher alcohol consumption. Acculturation may also involve changes in religious involvement and social support, changes that could help explain this effect. To examine this possibility, the current study analyzed data from the 2005 National Alcohol Survey. (Abstract based on a partial sample of N=512 Latinos.) Drinking outcomes included average volume, frequency of drinking, 3+ drinking, frequency of drunkenness, drinking-related consequences, and dependence symptoms. Results revealed that higher acculturation was strongly associated with lower social support, and significantly associated with denominational preference. Social support was also associated with drinking, though in unexpected directions: Higher support predicted higher probabilities of drinking and, among drinkers, higher probabilities of drunkenness, dependence symptoms, and drinking-related consequences. Meanwhile, although denominational preference was unassociated with drinking outcomes, women reporting that their religion was “very important” were, relative to others, less likely to be drinkers and, if drinkers, less likely to report 3+ drinking, drunkenness, and drinking-related consequences. A similar pattern emerged comparing religious to nonreligious women. Among Latino men, acculturation was associated with similar changes in support and religiosity, but these variables did not reliably predict drinking. Results suggest complex pathways between acculturation and drinking outcomes for Latinas. Although the present study had limited support measures, findings may imply that the isolation resulting from acculturation can lead Latina women to seek (and successfully form) social contacts in drinking contexts. They may also imply that women who sustain religious involvement are less susceptible to acculturation's effects on alcohol consumption.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Women, Alcohol Use

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