An Investigation of the Relationship Between Alcohol Use and Major Depressive Disorder Across Hispanic National Groups

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2016 Mar;40(3):536-42. doi: 10.1111/acer.12979. Epub 2016 Feb 17.


Background: There has been consistent epidemiological evidence of the association between drinking, alcohol dependence, and depression. However, most of the research has ignored potential diversity across Hispanic national subgroups. This study examines the prevalence of depression and explores its association with volume of drinking, age at first drink, binge drinking, and alcohol dependence across Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and South/Central American Hispanic national groups.

Methods: Data from more than 19,000 Hispanic adults were obtained from the 2010 to 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Survey logistic regression methods were used to test for differences in the relationship between major depressive disorder (MDD) and alcohol consumption across national groups.

Results: The prevalence of MDD varied significantly across Hispanic national groups (χ(2) = 67.06, p < 0.001). Puerto Ricans (14%) and Mexican Americans (9%) were most likely to have MDD. Mexican Americans had the highest prevalence of alcohol dependence, volume of consumption, and youngest age at first drink compared to Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and Central/South Americans. Multivariate results suggest that the odds of alcohol dependence were nearly 4 times greater among Hispanics with MDD compared to Hispanics who did not meet the criteria for MDD. Hispanic national origin did not modify the association between MDD and alcohol use.

Conclusions: Although significant differences in the prevalence rates of MDD and alcohol-use measures emerged across Hispanic national groups, there was no evidence that the relationships between these measures were different across Hispanic national groups. Further research should investigate the root causes of these variable MDD prevalence rates to inform detection and intervention efforts targeted toward specific national groups.

Keywords: Alcohol; Depression; Hispanic; National Origin; National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / ethnology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Central America / ethnology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cuba / ethnology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / ethnology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys / methods
  • Hispanic Americans* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Puerto Rico / ethnology
  • Random Allocation
  • South America / ethnology
  • Young Adult