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

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Abstract
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
Psychology, Department of
Faculty Publications, Department of
Psychology
University of Nebraska - Lincoln Year 
Acculturation status and heavy alcohol
use among Mexican American college
students: Investigating the moderating
role of gender
Byron L. Zamboanga
Marcela Raffaelli
Nicholas J. Horton
Smith College, bzamboan@smith.edu
University of Nebraska - Lincoln, mraffaelli1@unl.edu
Smith College
This paper is posted at DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/psychfacpub/62
Page 1
Acculturation status and heavy alcohol use among
Mexican American college students:
Investigating the moderating role of gender
Byron L. Zamboanga,* Marcela Raffaelli,† and Nicholas J. Horton ‡
* Corresponding author; Department of Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063
† Department of Psychology and Institute for Ethnic Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
‡ Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Smith College
Abstract
We examined whether gender moderates the association between acculturation and heavy al-
cohol 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 ndings 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 operation-
alized in alcohol studies, and suggest directions for future research.
Keywords: Acculturation, Alcohol use, Mexican Americans, Gender, College students
Alcohol use is an important health concern among college students (CDC, 1997). Data from national
studies (see O’Malley & Johnston, 2002, for review) indicate that approximately 40% of college students
recently engaged in heavy drinking. Health risks resulting from heavy alcohol use among college stu-
dents–such as drunk driving, physical ghting, and unsafe sexual behavior–are well-documented in the lit-
erature (see Perkins, 2002 for review). Altogether, these ndings highlight the need for continued research
aimed at identifying key correlates of heavy drinking among college students.
Published in Addictive Behaviors 31 (2006), pp. 2188–2198. DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.02.018 Copyright 2006 Elsevier Ltd.
Used by permission.
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Horton, Raffaelli, & Zamboanga in Addictive Behaviors 31 (2006)
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The drinking patterns of Latinos have received increased attention during the past several years (Nielsen,
2000). (The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino/a” are used in this paper to refer to persons of Mexican, Puerto
Rican, Cuban, or other Central American and South American origin living in the U.S.) National surveys
with college students indicate that the prevalence of heavy drinking is higher among Latinos compared to
Blacks, but lower relative to Whites (O’Malley & Johnston, 2002). Variations in alcohol use within Latino
populations due to age, gender, and Latino sub-group are also evident. For example, one study indicated
that college-age (18–25) Latinos have the highest prevalence of heavy drinking (past month) compared
to Latinos in other age groups (Ma & Shive, 2000). National surveys of college students revealed higher
prevalence of heavy drinking among Latino males compared to their female counterparts (O’Malley &
Johnston, 2002). Finally, Nielsen (2000) found that Mexican American men reported the highest preva-
lence of alcohol use compared to men from other Latino groups; among women, the prevalence of alcohol
use tended to be higher among Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans compared to other Latinas. Accord-
ing to Nielsen (2000), the ndings regarding Latino group differences in alcohol use (particularly heavy
drinking) are generally consistent with those reported in prior studies, suggesting that Mexican Americans
(particularly males) may be at risk for elevated alcohol use. Consequently, many studies have been con-
ducted to identify factors that contribute to alcohol use among Mexican Americans.
Investigations of alcohol use among Latinos have highlighted the importance of acculturation (the pro-
cess of psychological and behavioral adaptation that occurs when two cultures come into contact, as hap-
pens when immigrants arrive in a new country or one group is colonized by another; Berry, 1994), and the
in uence of gender on drinking behaviors (Alaniz et al., 1999 and Caetano & Clark, 2003). The current
study builds on prior literature by examining how gender impacts the relation between acculturation status
and heavy alcohol use among Mexican American college students, a growing segment of the U.S. popula-
tion. It is estimated that within 50 years, nearly 33% of the under-19 population in the U.S. will be of His-
panic origin or descent (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). Thus, information about
factors linked to alcohol use among Latino college students could help guide intervention efforts aimed at
curbing heavy drinking on college campuses. This study contributes to the mainstream literature aimed at
understanding culture-speci c correlates of elevated alcohol consumption.
Acculturation has been linked to health risk behaviors such as alcohol use (see Caetano & Clark, 2003, De
La Rosa, 2002 and Epstein et al., 2001 for reviews; for theoretical review of acculturation, see Berry, 2003).
However, studies examining the relation between acculturation and alcohol use among Latinos have yielded
inconsistent ndings; some studies revealed a positive relation, others a negative association, and some no
relation (see Caetano & Clark, 2003, De La Rosa, 2002 and Epstein et al., 2001 for reviews). Thus, the exact
role of acculturation in Latino alcohol use remains unclear. There are a few points worth noting regarding
the research literature on acculturation and alcohol use among Latinos. First, investigators have relied heav-
ily on proxy indicators such as language use and generation status (De La Rosa, 2002), which do not fully
capture the complex, multicultural dimensions of acculturation (e.g., ethnic identi cation, cultural practices,
social relationships). Second, Latinos are culturally heterogeneous and consist of different ethnic subgroups
from diverse socioeconomic, historical, and cultural backgrounds; however, studies do not typically take this
heterogeneity into account. It has been proposed that in order to better understand the link between accultura-
tion and alcohol use in Latino populations, researchers should examine drinking behaviors in speci c Latino
groups (Nielsen, 2000) and utilize measures that closely capture the multicultural and psychological dimen-
sions of acculturation status (Marin, Organista, & Chun, 2003). In the current paper, we focused on one La-
tino sub-group (Mexican Americans) and used a multidimensional measure of acculturation.
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In addition, we considered another aspect of psychological functioning that has been linked to behaviors
and values—ethnic identity, the personal sense of oneself as a member of a particular ethnic group (Phin-
ney, 2003). According to Phinney (2003), ethnic identity is “one aspect of the acculturation process that
can be distinguished from other aspects by virtue of its focus on subjective feelings about one’s ethnicity”
(p. 65). Ethnic identity does not appear to be related to demographic measures of acculturation such as
generational status in any consistent manner (Phinney, 2003), which may contribute to the inconsistent
ndings from prior research on acculturation and alcohol use. In particular, college students may be highly
acculturated based on demographic measures such as generation of immigration or language use, yet differ
in their adherence to cultural norms, strength of ethnic identi cation, and other psychological dimensions.
Researchers have highlighted the relevance of cultural identity on substance use (including alcohol use)
among Latinos and have advanced hypotheses regarding the link between these variables (Felix-Ortiz &
Newcomb, 1995). One hypothesis contends that highly culturally identi ed individuals are at risk for sub-
stance use because their values and behaviors may con ict with those of the majority society (Felix-Ortiz
& Newcomb, 1995). Such cultural con icts may give rise to elevated stress, thus increasing their risk for
substance use. Conversely, it has been hypothesized that strong identi cation with one’s cultural heri-
tage is linked to positive adjustment. Perhaps highly culturally identi ed individuals draw support and
resource from their cultural networks. In the process of conducting a literature review, research examining
the linkages between ethnic and cultural identity and substance use (which includes alcohol) has focused
on young adolescents; published articles among Latino college students were nonexistent. To date, studies
with Latino and other ethnic minority youth and adults suggest that higher ethnic and cultural identi ca-
tion are associated with decreased substance use (see Burlew, Hucks, Burley, & Johnson, 2003). However,
researchers contend that cultural identity in uences substance use but that such relations depend on gender
as well as other variables (e.g., familiarity with Latino culture, language use) (Felix-Ortiz & Newcomb,
1995). Further studies are therefore needed to better understand the link between ethnic identity and al-
cohol use, as well as factors that moderate the effects of ethnic identity on alcohol use in Latinos. In this
study, we examined the potential moderating role of gender on these associations.
Norms regarding drinking behaviors as well as cognitions about the use of alcohol are the product of
social learning (Gilbert & Collins, 1997). Researchers contend that strong sanctions against alcohol use
exist for women compared to men in many non-White ethnic groups including Latinos (Gilbert & Col-
lins, 1997). In one study, Latina adolescents agreed that Latino culture condoned drinking among men,
but not women (Flores-Ortiz, 1994). Such cultural norms regarding the use of alcohol suggest that gender
may in uence the relation between acculturation and drinking behaviors in Latino populations. Conceiv-
ably, when Latinas acculturate into a U.S. culture that is less prohibitive (compared to traditional Latino
cultures) about the use of alcohol by women, they may modify their drinking behaviors by adopting more
liberal attitudes and behaviors toward drinking. In contrast, if there are few cultural sanctions against the
use of alcohol by men in more traditional Latino cultures, one might surmise that less acculturated Latino
men will engage in more drinking-related behaviors relative to their highly acculturated counterparts.
Consistent with this notion, there is evidence that the association between acculturation and alcohol use
in Latinos is in uenced by gender (see Alaniz et al., 1999 for review). For example, one study with Latino
adults revealed positive associations between acculturation (as measured by language use) and alcohol use
for women, but not men (Polednak, 1997). Alaniz et al. (1999) examined the proportion of Mexican Amer-
ican men and women who were drinkers and found that estimates of alcohol use were consistent for men
across all acculturation levels; however, for the women, there was a low proportion of drinkers in the less
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Horton, Raffaelli, & Zamboanga in Addictive Behaviors 31 (2006)
acculturated group. The proportion of men and women who were drinkers was similar among those who
were more acculturated. The authors also reported positive relations between acculturation and alcohol use
for males (as measured by birthplace) and females (as measured by language use). Altogether, these nd-
ings highlight the complexities and the role of gender in the relation between acculturation and alcohol use
as well as raise questions about the utility of using different indices of acculturation (e.g., birthplace vs.
language use) interchangeably in Latino populations.
The current study builds on prior research and addresses a number of methodological and conceptual
limitations found in previous studies. To date, the bulk of the literature on acculturation and alcohol use
among Latinos has focused primarily on the direct association between these variables. However, this ap-
proach is limited; Marin et al. (2003) have urged researchers to view the relation between acculturation
and substance use as a complex interaction between individual characteristics and sociocultural factors.
Inherent in Latino cultures are gender-speci c cultural norms pertaining to alcohol; therefore, the primary
goal of this study was to examine how gender moderates the relation between acculturation status and
heavy alcohol use in Mexican American college students. We focused on heavy alcohol use because of the
high prevalence of drinking and the health-risks associated with elevated usage among college students
(O’Malley & Johnston, 2002). Based on prior research and conceptions of cultural norms and social learn-
ing regarding the use of alcohol in Latino cultures, we hypothesized that the relation between acculturation
and heavy alcohol use would differ for men and women. Speci cally, we expected that more acculturated
Mexican American women would engage in heavy alcohol use more frequently than their less acculturated
counterparts. Conversely, we anticipated that less acculturated Mexican American men would partake in
heavy alcohol use more frequently compared to their more acculturated counterparts.
Researchers have relied heavily on language use and preference, which may represent important aspects
of acculturation but do not fully capture other culturally relevant indicators of acculturation (Zane & Mak,
2003). To address this limitation, we utilized a multidimensional, global index of acculturation and also
considered ethnic identity, a psychological aspect of acculturation. Prior literature also suggests that so-
ciodemographic variables such as age (Nielsen, 2000) and peer drinking behavior (Baer, 2002) are linked
to alcohol use; thus, we accounted for these variables in our analysis. Finally, many studies combine Lati-
nos into one group and fail to consider the cultural heterogeneity of this population. To address this issue,
the analysis was restricted to Mexican Americans.
1. Method
1.1. Participants and procedure
Participants were drawn from a sample of 18 to 45 year olds (N = 242) who self-identi ed as Latino
or Hispanic and participated in a study of Latino family socialization experiences. With the cooperation
of four Midwestern post-secondary institutions (two state Universities, < 4% Hispanic/Latino; one com-
munity college, 11% Hispanic/Latino; and one private college, 3% Hispanic/Latino), survey packets and
reminder postcards were mailed to all currently enrolled Latino/Hispanic students (approximately 30% re-
sponse rate). Depending on the institution, respondents either received $10 and were entered into a draw-
ing for an additional bonus payment, or were paid $15. To ensure student con dentiality, survey packets
were direct-mailed by each institution’s registration department.
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The current analysis was restricted to 126 Mexican American students. Responses to the ethnic self-
identi cation and parent ethnicity items on the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM; Phinney,
1992) were used to identify individuals who self-identi ed as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, and/
or indicated that at least one of their parents was Mexican, Mexican American, or Chicano. The majority
of the participants (86%) were born in the U.S.
1.2. Measures
1.2.1. Demographics
Participants reported their age (71% between 18 and 25 years of age) and gender (43% men).
1.2.2. Heavy alcohol use
Respondents reported on their frequency of heavy alcohol use (5 or more drinks in one sitting) during
the past 30 days; responses ranged from 0 times to 14 or more times. To address the low variability of this
item, participants’ responses were converted to a four-point scale (1 = Never, 2 = 1 to 2 times, 3 = 3 to
4 times, 4 = 5 or more times). About half (51%) reported heavy alcohol use at least once during the past
month. Furthermore, 21% engaged in heavy drinking one to two times, 13% reported elevated use three to
four times, and 17% drank heavily ve or more times in the past 30 days.
1.2.3. Peer alcohol use
We asked respondents to indicate how often their peers drank alcohol using a ve-point scale (1 = Nev-
er drinks, 2 = Seldom drinks, 3 = Sometimes drinks, 4 = Often drinks, 5 = Always drinks). Approximately
52% indicated that their peers either often or always drink alcohol, 44% reported that their peers either
seldom or sometimes drinks, and 5% indicated that their peers never drink.
1.2.4. Acculturation measures
We assessed two aspects of acculturation: global acculturation (Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican
Americans-II [ARSMA-II]; Cuellar, Arnold, & Maldonado, 1995) and ethnic identity (MEIM; Roberts,
Phinney, Masse, Chen, & Roberts, 1999). The ARSMA-II consists of 30 items rated on a ve-point scale (1
= Not at all to 5 = Extremely often or almost always) and encompasses multiple behavioral and attitudinal
indicators of acculturation, including language use/preference in different domains (e.g., when speaking,
reading, watch TV), ethnic self- and parental-identi cation preference labels (e.g., My mother identi es or
identi ed herself as “Mexicana”), cultural heritage and ethnic behaviors (e.g., My family cooks Mexican
foods), and ethnic interaction (e.g., My friends now are of Mexican origin). The ARSMA-II yields two
cultural orientation subscales: Anglo Orientation Scale (AOS; 13 items; α = .81 in our study sample) and
Mexican Orientation Scale (MOS; 17 items; α = .88 in our study sample). Acculturation level is calculated
by computing mean scores for each subscale and subtracting the MOS mean from the AOS mean. Cut-off
values speci ed by Cuellar et al. (1995) can be used to classify respondents according to their level of ac-
culturation (1 = Very Mexican oriented, 2 = Mexican oriented to approximately balanced bicultural, 3 =
Slightly Anglo oriented bicultural, 4 = Strongly Anglo oriented, and 5 = Very assimilated). Since none of
the study participants were classi ed as “Very Mexican,” acculturation level ranged from 2.0 to 5.0. We
treated global acculturation scores as a continuous variable in our analysis.
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The MEIM (Phinney, 1992) is a 12-item measure of behavioral and affective aspects of ethnic identity.
Statements (e.g., I have a strong sense of belonging to my own ethnic group; I have a lot of pride in my
ethnic group and its accomplishments) are rated on a four-point scale (1 = Strongly disagree to 4 = Strong-
ly agree). A total ethnic identity score is derived by reversing negatively worded items and averaging all
12 items (α = .90 in our study sample).
2. Data analytic approach
Data analyses were conducted using SPSS version 11.5. First, we examined gender differences and
computed bivariate correlations among the study variables, both for the total sample and separately by
gender. Second, we conducted multiple linear regression analysis to test the association between two as-
pects of acculturation status (global acculturation and ethnic identity) and heavy alcohol use and examined
whether gender moderates such relations. In our regression model, main effects of background variables
(age, gender, and peer alcohol use), acculturation status (global acculturation and ethnic identity), along
with acculturation interaction terms with gender (gender × global acculturation and gender × ethnic iden-
tity) were entered simultaneously. To simplify the interpretation of regression parameters, continuous vari-
ables used in the interaction terms were centered prior to computing the interaction terms (Aiken & West,
1991). Third, we plotted the signi cant interaction effect using the predicted frequency of heavy alcohol
use derived from the model.
3. Results
3.1. Preliminary analyses
Bivariate correlations and descriptive statistics for the study variables, both for the total sample and
separately by gender, are shown in Table 1. Analysis of variance showed that compared to women, men
reported higher frequencies of heavy alcohol use, F(1, 125) = 5.62, p < .02, η
2
= .04 and peer alcohol use,
F(1, 125) = 6.91, p < .02, η
2
= .05. Bivariate correlation analyses for the total sample showed that higher
frequencies of heavy alcohol use were signi cantly associated with male gender, younger age, higher peer
alcohol use, and higher ethnic identity. Higher peer alcohol use was signi cantly related to male gender,
younger age, and ethnic identity. Ethnic identity was negatively associated with global acculturation. In
general, similar bivariate correlation trends emerged for men and women (see Table 1); however, ethnic
identity was signi cantly associated with frequency of heavy alcohol use in men (r = .28) but not women
(r = .01).
3.2. Predicting frequency of heavy alcohol use and the moderating effect of gender
Results of the multiple linear regression analysis examining predictors of frequency of heavy alcohol
use (Table 2) revealed positive associations for ethnic identity and peer alcohol use, and an interaction for
gender by ethnicity, F(7, 118) = 4.27, p < .001, model R
2
= .20. Age, gender, global acculturation, and the
interaction of gender by global acculturation were not signi cant contributors (all p-values > .08). To in-
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terpret the gender by ethnic identity interaction, we plotted the predicted values of frequency of heavy al-
cohol use as a function of gender and centered ethnic identity scores ranging from 1 to 1. As can be seen
in Fig. 1, there was a positive association between ethnic identity score and frequency of heavy alcohol
use for men, but little or no association for women.
4. Discussion
The prevalence of heavy drinking on college campuses highlights the need for continued research on
alcohol use among young adults in the U.S. Our study sought to better understand culture-speci c corre-
lates of heavy alcohol use among Mexican American college students, who represent a growing segment
of the U.S. population. We built on prior research in four main ways in an attempt to clarify inconsistent
results from past research on acculturation and alcohol use in Latino populations. First, we focused on
heavy alcohol use, which poses a serious risk to college students (O’Malley & Johnston, 2002). Second, our
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Horton, Raffaelli, & Zamboanga in Addictive Behaviors 31 (2006)
study included two indices of acculturation, including a multidimensional measure that indexed primarily
behavioral aspects of acculturation (e.g., language use and preference, cultural behavior, social ties), and a
measure of ethnic identity, a psychological aspect of acculturation. Third, in recognition of the within-group
diversity of the Latino population, we limited our college sample to Mexican Americans. Finally, consistent
with recent recommendations that researchers investigate potential moderators of the association between
acculturation and substance use (Marin et al., 2003), we examined the moderating role of gender.
For the male Mexican American college students in our sample, we found a signi cant positive associa-
tion between ethnic identity and frequency of heavy alcohol use. That is, men who were more ethnically
identi ed also tended to report more frequent heavy alcohol use, after other relevant variables (e.g., age,
peer alcohol use, global acculturation status) were taken into account. In contrast, there was minimal as-
sociation between ethnic identity and frequency of heavy alcohol use for women. The ndings for men
are consistent with the hypothesis that identi cation with Latino culture is associated with elevated al-
cohol use. An alternate possibility is that highly ethnically identi ed individuals consume higher levels
of alcohol because their values and behaviors may con ict with those of the majority society. We could
not examine this in our study, but future studies could examine the degree to which cultural con icts and
adjustment dif culties mediate and/or moderate the relation between acculturation and alcohol use in La-
tino men. The lack of association between global acculturation and alcohol use supports the notion that
researchers should consider moving from measuring external aspects of acculturation (e.g., language use
and related-behaviors) to focusing on psychological dimensions (Zane & Mak, 2003). In short, future re-
search on Mexican American college students’ alcohol use can build on these ndings by teasing out what
aspects of psychological acculturation are linked to alcohol use, perhaps by examining norms and values
directly and examining culture-speci c norms pertaining to alcohol use.
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In light of the ndings noted above, there are a few considerations worth noting with respect to social
in uences and their relevance to acculturation and college drinking among Mexican American college
students. Social norms can in uence the extent to which drinking will be encouraged (Maisto, Carey, &
Bradizza, 1999). Norms can be learned through observation of socializing agents such as peers during col-
lege. The college years can be characterized as a time of increased social activity during which alcohol use
is highly likely to occur (Baer, 2002). Increased exposure to parties that involve drinking and the presence
of a Greek system can facilitate elevated use during the college years. Indeed, national reports indicate
higher prevalence rates of alcohol use among college students compared to their age-mates who are not in
college (O’Malley & Johnson, 2002). Conceivably, less acculturated, Mexican American college men may
be at risk for elevated use, particularly in social settings (i.e., college) where opportunities and peer in u-
ences to consume alcohol are likely to be quite high. Clearly, further research designed to investigate how
the college environment might impact acculturation and drinking-related behaviors in Mexican American
student populations and other Latino subgroups are needed.
The lack of association between the study variables and heavy alcohol use in our sample of Mexican
American college women contradicts prior research showing positive associations between acculturation
and alcohol use among Latinas (e.g., Alaniz et al., 1999 and Polednak, 1997). There are several differ-
ences between the current study and past research that may account for the discrepancy in ndings. Our
study employed two multidimensional measures of acculturation, whereas prior research has typically re-
lied on language use or birthplace as proxy indicators of acculturation. This investigation also focused on
heavy drinking (5+ drinks in one sitting) rather than alcohol use (frequency/quantity) in general and our
female sample consisted primarily of young women (72% ages 18–25) attending college. Further studies
are needed in order to better understand what acculturative factors (if any) in uence different aspects of
alcohol use among Mexican American college women.
There were some limitations worth noting in our investigation. The cross-sectional study design pre-
cludes any inferences of causality regarding the relation between ethnic identity and heavy alcohol use.
Second, our study focused on Mexican American college students; therefore, caution must be used when
generalizing our ndings to Mexicans and Mexican Americans who do not attend (or have not attended)
college. Furthermore, Latino subgroups differ on many sociocultural variables such as history and length
of stay in the U.S., socioeconomic status, and visible-minority status (Suarez-Orozco & Paez, 2002);
therefore, it remains unclear whether or how the current ndings would have differed had we used a na-
tionally representative sample of Latinos. Third, we relied on self-reported alcohol use so it is possible
that respondents may have under- or over-reported their drinking behaviors. Finally, the modest response
rate (30%), although comparable to that obtained in other mail-based surveys (e.g., Kaplowitz, Hadlock,
& Levine, 2004), may have biased the sample in unknown ways. Future research should therefore be
mindful of strategies that facilitate increase response rates when conducting these types of studies (see
Edwards, et al., 2002). In light of these sample considerations, it should be noted that the proportion of
respondents who indicated heavy alcohol use was comparable to national studies with college students.
The prevalence of heavy alcohol use among college students is estimated at 40% (O’Malley & Johnston,
2002). Prevalence rates of heavy alcohol use among college students are particularly high for Whites
(40% to 50%), followed by Hispanics (30% to 40%), then Blacks (15% to 25%). In the present study,
half of the participants reported current heavy episodic alcohol use at least once. Hence, compared to na-
tional college samples, there were comparable percentages in the proportion of students in this study who
reported heavy alcohol use.
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Despite the study limitations, the current ndings have potential implications for prevention efforts,
theory re nement, and future research. Intervention programs aimed at reducing heavy alcohol use among
Mexican American college students might consider gender socialization differences regarding attitudes
toward alcohol use and explicitly address the moderating role of gender. It is possible that intervention
programs designed to combat heavy alcohol use that include encouraging or strengthening ethnic identity
may not be optimal for Mexican American male students. From a theoretical perspective, the current study
highlights the relevance of various aspects of acculturation and raises questions about the appropriateness
of using different measures of acculturation (e.g., global acculturation vs. ethnic identity) interchangeably
in research with Mexican American college students as well as non-Mexican Latino students (Raffaelli,
Zamboanga, & Carlo, 2005). Finally, this investigation sheds light on future research directions aimed at
gaining a full understanding of the complex relation between acculturation and alcohol use in Mexican
American college students and possibly other Latino student subgroups as well.
Acknowledgements
This project was supported by grants to Marcela Raffaelli from the National Institute of Mental Health and
the Of ce of the Research Council, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The authors are thankful to Kevin
Berryman, Derek Bothern, Erin Fling, Elizabeth Johnson, Craig Peters, Melissa VanDyke, Shana Weiseler,
and Paula Womack for their assistance with this project. Special thanks to Sherill Pineda and Sherry Wang
for their editorial comments on this manuscript.
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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. "
    Full-text · Chapter · Oct 2015 · Journal of Child and Family Studies
    • "These findings are consistent with the assertion that negative cultural transactions may increase the risk of adverse health outcomes (Lazarus, 1997). As with other studies, domains of acculturation and enculturation were not directly associated with alcohol use severity or depressive symptoms (Lorenzo-Blanco, Unger, Baezconde-Garbanati, Ritt-Olson, & Soto, 2012; Schwartz et al., 2011; Zamboanga, Raffaelli, & Horton, 2006). However, domains of acculturation and enculturation had indirect effects on alcohol use severity and depressive symptoms via ethnic discrimination and intragroup marginalization. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research has indicated that Hispanics have high rates of heavy drinking and depressive symptoms during late adolescence. The purpose of this study was to test a bicultural transaction model composed of two enthnocultural orientations (acculturation and enculturation); and stressful cultural transactions with both the U.S. culture (perceived ethnic discrimination) and Hispanic culture (perceived intragroup marginalization) to predict alcohol use severity and depressive symptoms among a sample of 129 (men=39, women=90) late adolescent Hispanics (ages 18-21) enrolled in college. Results from a path analysis indicated that the model accounted for 18.2% of the variance in alcohol use severity and 24.3% of the variance in depressive symptoms. None of the acculturation or enculturation domains had statistically significant direct effects with alcohol use severity or depressive symptoms. However, higher reports of ethnic discrimination were associated with higher reports of alcohol use severity and depressive symptoms. Similarly, higher reports of intragroup marginalization were associated with higher depressive symptoms. Further, both ethnic discrimination and intragroup marginalization functioned as mediators of multiple domains of acculturation and enculturation. These findings highlight the need to consider the indirect effects of enthnocultural orientations in relation to health-related outcomes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015
    • "Studies show that in the US Hispanic high school students are more likely to drink and to get drunk at an earlier age than non-Hispanic White or Black youths (Díaz-Martínez et al. 2008) and that Mexican–Americans are more likely than those who identify as Cuban or Puerto Rican to engage in heavy drinking (Delva et al. 2005; Flores-Ortiz 1994; Johnston et al. 2004; Nielsen and Ford 2001; Swaim et al. 2004). The few studies of alcohol use among Mexican–American young adults focus on Mexican–American college students and acculturation but the results are inconsistent and researchers recommend moving from measuring behavioral aspects of acculturation to examining cultural norms and values related to alcohol use (Corbin et al. 2008; Raffaelli et al. 2007; Zamboanga 2005; Zamboanga et al. 2006). Investigation of more specific cultural variables has the potential to inform prevention and intervention efforts for different groups of Hispanic/Latino youths in the US. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The construct of familismo has been identified as a potential protective cultural value in Hispanic cultures. This paper considers familismo and alcohol use among young people in Mexico. We conducted a qualitative study using ethnographic open ended interviews with 117 first year students at a large free public university in Mexico City between April-May 2011. The findings indicate that dimensions of familismo can act as protective factors against misuse of alcohol among Mexican youths and may be protective for moderate drinking. Future research should explore the relationship of familismo to gender roles and other cultural values during adolescence. Given the enduring influence of Mexican cultural values among Mexican Americans the research has implications for prevention programs for both Mexican and Mexican American youths.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015
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