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Monday, March 12, 2012

Problem Drinking Among Mexican-Americans: The Influence of Nativity and Neighborhood Context?

We examined the influence of nativity and community context (Hispanic neighborhood concentration) on two measures of problem drinking among Mexican-Americans.

Cross-sectional study.

Texas City Stress and Health Study conducted in Texas City, Texas during 2004–2006.

A total of 1435 Mexican-Americans aged 25 years and older.

Binge drinking (≥6 drinks per occasion by men and ≥4 drinks per occasion by women) and scoring positive on the CAGE (a four-item clinical measure of problem drinking) as dependent variables. Key independent variables included a measure of language acculturation, proportion of Hispanics in the participant's neighborhood according to 2000 U.S. Census data, and being foreign-born compared with being U.S.-born.

Logistic regression analysis was used to predict being a binge drinker and being positive on the CAGE.

Foreign-born women were less likely to be binge drinkers than U.S.-born women. Nativity was not significant among men. Moreover women were less likely to be binge drinkers if they lived in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods. No such effect was found among men. Similar results were obtained with the CAGE.

We found a powerful influence of nativity (being U.S.-born compared with foreign born) and neighborhood Hispanic concentration on problem drinking among women but not among men. It is likely that cultural norms in heavily Hispanic environments discourage problem drinking among women but not among men.

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