Alcohol-related problem behaviors among Latin American immigrants in the US

Christopher P. Salas-Wright, Michael G. Vaughn, Trenette Clark Goings, Daniel P. Miller, Jina Chang, Seth J Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Background: Prior research indicates that Latino immigrants are less likely than US-born individuals to use alcohol and meet criteria for an alcohol use disorder. However, our understanding of alcohol-related problem behaviors among Latino immigrants remains limited. We report the prevalence of alcohol-related problem behaviors among Latino immigrants vis-à-vis the US-born and examine the relationship between alcohol-related problem behavior and key migration-related factors and injury/receipt of emergency medical care. Methods: The data source used for the present study is the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC-III, 2012–2013), a nationally representative survey of 36,309 civilian, non-institutionalized adults ages 18 and older in the US. Logistic regression was employed to examine the relationship between immigrant status and key outcomes. Results: Foreign-born Latinos were less likely to report one or more alcohol-related problems compared to US-born Latinos (AOR = 0.41, 95% CI = 0.33–0.50) and the US-born general population (AOR = 0.38, 95% CI = 0.32–0.46). Latino immigrants arriving as children were, compared to those arriving later in life, significantly more likely to report alcohol-related problem behaviors, and experiences of discrimination were linked with greater risk of alcohol-related problem behavior as well. Latino immigrants reporting recurrent injury/emergency medical care utilization were more likely to report alcohol-related problem behavior. Conclusions: Latino immigrants are significantly less likely than US-born Latinos and the US-born general population to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, take part in risky behaviors or fight while drinking, or to be arrested due to alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018



  • Alcohol
  • Cultural stress
  • Discrimination
  • Emergency medical care
  • Immigrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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