Latinos in the United States experience numerous alcohol-related health disparities. There is accumulating evidence that pre-immigration factors are associated with post-immigration alcohol use, but the explanation for health disparities remains unclear. The present study is a secondary analysis of data from the Recent Latino Immigrant Study (RLIS), the first community-based cohort study to examine the pre- to post-immigration alcohol use trajectories of young adult Latino immigrants during their initial years in the United States. Exploratory analysis and hierarchical multiple logistic regression were performed to assess associations between various pre- and post-immigration factors and alcohol misuse among young adult Latino immigrants early in the immigration process. Using an ecodevelopmental approach, we examined potential social and environmental determinants across multiple levels of influence associated with post-immigration alcohol misuse in this population. The study sample consisted of 474 young adult Latino immigrants between the ages of 18-34. The sample was comprised of the following national/regional origins: Cuban (43%), South American (28.7%), and Central American (28.3%). Approximately half of the sample (49.6%) reported a family history of substance use problems (FHSUP+). Participants who reported FHSUP+ and who engaged in alcohol misuse prior to immigrating to the US were more likely to engage in post-immigration alcohol misuse. Results revealed various social and environmental factors associated with pre-immigration alcohol misuse in this population. Study findings can inform culturally tailored prevention interventions aimed at mitigating problem drinking behaviors among young adult recent Latino immigrants.
Keywords: alcohol dependence; health; health disparities; minority health; risk and protective factors; social determinants of health.