Pre- to postimmigration alcohol use trajectories among recent Latino immigrants

Psychol Addict Behav. 2014 Dec;28(4):990-9. doi: 10.1037/a0037807. Epub 2014 Sep 22.


The escalation of alcohol use among some Latino immigrant groups as their time in the United States increases has been well documented. Yet, little is known about the alcohol use behaviors of Latino immigrants before immigration. This prospective longitudinal study examines pre- to postimmigration alcohol use trajectories among a cohort of recent Latino immigrants. Retrospective preimmigration data were collected at baseline from a sample of 455 Cuban, South American, and Central American Latinos ages 18-34 who immigrated to the United States less than 1 year prior. Two follow-up assessments (12 months apart) reported on their postimmigration alcohol use in the past 90 days. We hypothesized (a) overall declines in pre- to postimmigration alcohol among recent Latino immigrants and (b) gender/documentation specific effects, with higher rates of alcohol use among males and undocumented participants compared to their female and documented counterparts. Growth curve analyses revealed males had higher levels of preimmigration alcohol use with steeper declines in postimmigration alcohol use compared to females. Declines in alcohol use frequency were observed for documented, but not undocumented males. No changes in pre- to postimmigration alcohol use were found for documented or undocumented females. This study contributes to the limited knowledge of pre- to postimmigration alcohol use patterns among Latinos in the United States. Future research is needed to identify social determinants associated with the alcohol use trajectories of recent Latino immigrants, as it may inform prediction, prevention, and treatment of problem-drinking behaviors among the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology*
  • Alcoholism / ethnology*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult