Problem Drinking Among Mexican-Americans

The Influence of Nativity and Neighborhood Context?

Two measures of problem drinking among Mexican Americans in Texas City, Texas were studied examining the relationship of nativity and concentration of Hispanics living in the neighborhood.

A total of 1,435 Mexican Americans ages 25 years and older were analyzed on two measures: being a binge drinker (≥6 drinks for men, and ≥4 drinks for women, per episode of drinking) and scoring positive on the CAGE (a 4-item clinical measure). Additional independent variables were also collected. In particular, this study examined whether the percentage of Hispanics living in his/her neighborhood was associated with the participant’s alcohol consumption, and if nativity (being U.S. born versus being foreign born) played a factor.

Key Findings:

  • Women were significantly less likely to have drinking problems if they were non-U.S. born and if the neighborhood in which they resided had a heavy Hispanic concentration. Among men, this effect was not seen.

This analysis shows that future efforts aimed at reducing the level of alcohol consumption in Mexican-American women needs to focus on areas of low Hispanic concentration neighborhoods, while efforts for men should focus on all geographies, whether heavily populated by Hispanics or not.