Post-immigration Changes in Social Capital and Substance Use Among Recent Latino Immigrants in South Florida: Differences by Documentation Status

J Immigr Minor Health. 2015 Dec;17(6):1697-704. doi: 10.1007/s10903-015-0191-3.


Changing social capital among recent Latino immigrants (RLIs) influences substance use post-immigration. This was a longitudinal study of 476 South/Central American RLIs examining social capital and substance use changes pre to post-immigration. Self-reported measures of social capital and substance use were compared between surveys administered within 1 year of immigration and 2 years post-immigration. Post-immigration, social capital, hazardous drinking and illicit drug use decreased. Women were less likely to engage in hazardous drinking [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) .32, p < .001], and less likely to use illicit drugs (AOR .67, p = .01). Documented individuals with higher levels of 'business' social capital had increased odds of illicit drug use (AOR 2.20, p < .05). Undocumented individuals with higher levels of 'friend and others' social capital had decreased risk for hazardous drinking and illicit drug use (AOR .55, p < .01; AOR .56, p < .05). Documentation status moderated the relationship between social capital and substance use. RLIs can be targeted for primary prevention of substance abuse.

Keywords: Documentation status; Immigrants; Social capital; Substance use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Social Capital*
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / ethnology*
  • Time Factors
  • Undocumented Immigrants / psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Illicit Drugs