Acculturation status and heavy alcohol use among Mexican American college students: Investigating the moderating role of gender. Addictive Behaviors, 31, 2188-2198

Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Addictive Behaviors (Impact Factor: 2.76). 01/2007; 31(12):2188-98. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.02.018
Source: PubMed


We examined whether gender moderates the association between acculturation and heavy alcohol use. The sample consisted of 126 Mexican American college students (Mean age=24.7 years; 57% female) who completed self-report measures of heavy alcohol use, acculturation status (global acculturation and ethnic identity), and relevant control variables (age, peer alcohol use). Multivariable regression revealed that higher levels of ethnic identity were associated with greater frequency of heavy alcohol among men. Conversely, neither measure of acculturation was associated with heavy alcohol use among women. These findings suggest that interventions for Latino/a students should consider the role of culturally relevant variables in heavy alcohol use, particularly for men. They also have implications regarding how acculturation is operationalized in alcohol studies, and suggest directions for future research.

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Available from: Nicholas Jon Horton, Oct 08, 2015
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    • "For example, ethnic identity is predictive of self-esteem in most (e.g., Umaña-Taylor & Updegraff, 2007) but not all (e.g., Cavazos-Rehg & DeLucia-Waack, 2009) samples of U.S. Latina/o adolescents. Contrary to theory, other research has found positive associations between ethnic identity and problem behaviors in U.S. Latina/o youth (e.g., Rafaelli, Zamboanga, & Carlo, 2005; Zamboanga, Rafaelli, & Horton, 2006). "
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    • "For members of ethnic minority groups, evidence regarding the links between ethnic identity and risk-taking behavior is mixed. For example, some studies (e.g., Marsiglia, Kulis, Hecht, & Sills, 2004) have found ethnic identity to be protective against substance use, whereas other studies (e.g., Schwartz, Weisskirch, et al., 2011; Zamboanga, Raffaelli, & Horton, 2006; Zamboanga, Schwartz, Jarvis, & Van Tyne, 2009) have identified ethnic identity as a risk for substance use. "
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    • "A larger group of researchers have posited that the mixed findings may be attributable to methodology: empirical investigations of ethnic identity and ethnic orientation in unidimensional and univariate models that may mask the nuanced relations among ethnic identity, ethnic orientation, and youth's AOD use, whereas dynamic, multivariate models reveal them (e.g., Pugh & Bry, 2007; Zambonga et al., 2009; Zambonga, Raffaelli, & Horton, 2006). For example, in a sample of college students, one group of researchers found a significant interaction between ethnic identity and gender on alcohol use, such that ethnic identity was positively associated with heavy alcohol use for males, but the association between ethnic identity and alcohol use was not significant for females—a finding that would not have been identified in a univariate framework (Zambonga et al., 2006). Given the divergent literature, more research is needed to add to what is known about the impact of ethnic identity and ethnic orientation on youth. "
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