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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Alcohol-related Social Problems among Mexican Americans Living in U.S.-Mexico Border and Non-border Areas

This paper examines alcohol-related social problems among Mexican Americans living along the U.S.-Mexico border and in non-border areas.

Interviews were conducted among Mexican Americans in the border regions of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas (N = 1,307). Non-border respondents were interviewed primarily in Houston and Los Angeles (N = 1,288) as part of the Hispanic Americans Baseline Alcohol Survey (HABLAS).

Both the border and HABLAS surveys employed multistage cluster sample designs (response rates were 67% and 76%, respectively).

In the bivariate analysis, there were no significant differences between border and non-border areas in the proportion of those with one or more social problem. In non-border areas, the prevalence of alcohol problems did not differ significantly by age.

However, along the border the prevalence of alcohol problems was significantly different across age groups, with 18 to 29 year old men and women having the highest prevalence.

The final models showed no residence effect on problem likelihood. Drinking was strongly associated with problems.

Although young border residents had higher problem prevalence rates than older residents, the logistic regression models showed no effect of border residence on the likelihood of problems, indicating that problems are due to alcohol consumption, not the border environment. The border, however, did appear to influence more drinking among young people.

Regardless of residence, alcohol treatment and preventive interventions tailored to Mexican Americans are essential and special attention should be focused on younger individuals near the border.

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