Immigration Stress and Alcohol Use Severity Among Recently Immigrated Hispanic Adults: Examining Moderating Effects of Gender, Immigration Status, and Social Support

J Clin Psychol. 2017 Mar;73(3):294-307. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22330. Epub 2016 May 26.


Objective: Identifying and understanding determinants of alcohol use behavior among Hispanic immigrants is an increasingly significant public health concern. Although prior research has examined associations of cultural stressors with alcohol use among Hispanics, few studies have tested these associations among recent adult immigrants. As such, this study aimed to examine (a) the association of immigration stress on alcohol use severity among recently immigrated Hispanic adults (≤ 1 year in the United States) and (b) the moderating effects of gender, immigration status, and social support.

Method: A hierarchical multiple regression and moderation analyses were conducted on a sample of 527 participants in South Florida.

Results: Results indicated that, after controlling for demographic variables, preimmigration drinking behavior, and dimensions of social support, the association of higher immigration stress with higher alcohol use severity was statistically significant. Moderation analyses indicated that immigration stress had a statistically significant association with alcohol use severity among men, but not women. Also, dimensions of social support consistently reduced the deleterious effect of immigration stress on alcohol use severity.

Conclusion: This study adds to the scarce literature on cultural stressors and alcohol use among recent Hispanic immigrants. Findings suggest that it may be important to design gender-specific interventions and that increasing levels of social support may offset the effects of immigration stress on alcohol use.

Keywords: Hispanics; alcohol; cultural stress; gender; social support.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / ethnology*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Florida / ethnology
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology*
  • Young Adult