Alcohol use among Latinos: a comparison of pre-immigration, post-immigration, and US born Latinos

J Immigr Minor Health. 2012 Jun;14(3):371-8. doi: 10.1007/s10903-011-9498-x.


US born Latinos have higher rates of alcohol use than Latino immigrants. Yet, little is known about drinking patterns of Latinos before their immigration to the US This exploratory study compares the past month regular, binge, and heavy alcohol use patterns of Latino immigrants prior to immigration with that of post-immigration and US born Latinos. Data on past month alcohol use prior to immigration was collected from 516 recent adult Latino immigrants. Results were compared with US born and post-immigration Latinos using national aggregate data. Alcohol use patterns among Latino immigrants prior to immigration were similar to that of US born Latinos. Alcohol use patterns were lower among Latinos after immigration when compared to pre-immigration and US born Latinos. This study provides a foundation for further exploration of the drinking patterns of Latinos in the US before they immigrated to this country. Findings suggest more research is needed to uncover the underlying factors associated with the higher rates of alcohol use among Latinos prior to their immigration when compared to alcohol use patterns of post-immigration Latinos.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Psychometrics
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult