Drinking and driving among immigrant and US-born Hispanic young adults: Results from a longitudinal and nationally representative study

Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina, Jennifer M. Reingle, Wesley G. Jennings, Guillermo Prado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the risk factors associated with the initiation of driving under the influence (DUI) among Hispanics in a longitudinal and nationally-representative sample of adolescents and young adults. Specifically, this study tests the effect of demographic variables, individual-level risk factors, and eco-processes (e.g., peer drug use, parental involvement) during adolescence on DUI among Hispanic young adults. Methods: Data were derived from 1734 Hispanic adolescents surveyed for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Survey logistic regression procedures were used to examine the effects of nativity status on DUI initiation, to evaluate the independent effect of each risk factor (demographic, individual-level, and eco-processes), and to identify whether and to what extent these factors are associated with the initiation of DUI. Results: The overall prevalence of DUI initiation was 18.3%. Differences were observed in the rates of DUI initiation by nativity status: first-generation immigrants reported the lowest rates of DUI initiation (15.4%) when compared with second-generation US-born Hispanic youth (17.4%) and third-generation and beyond US-born Hispanic youth (21.5%). US-born Hispanic youth were also more likely to report higher frequency of alcohol use (t = 3.46, p = 0.001) and marijuana use (t = 2.34, p = 0.021) compared to immigrant adolescents. After adjusting for a number of risk factors, men (OR = 2.86), marijuana users (OR = 1.98), and those who reported feeling safe in their neighborhoods (OR = 2.02) were at an increased risk DUI initiation. Conclusions: Findings provide support for the "immigrant paradox": immigrant youth reported lower rates of DUI initiation and other high-risk behaviors when compared with US-born Hispanic youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-388
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Alcohol
  • Drinking
  • Driving
  • Drunk
  • Hispanic
  • Impaired

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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