Drinking patterns among Hispanic adolescents: Results from a National Household Survey

A. L. Nielsen, J. A. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective: This is one of the first studies to examine and compare alcohol use for adolescent Cubans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics. Method: The data come from the 1993 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), a national probability sample of the U.S. household population. The sample examined here (N = 1,865, 52% male) comprises 200 Cubans, 1,133 Mexican Americans, 255 Puerto Ricans and 277 Central/South Americans who were 12 to 17 years old. Drinking patterns are measured using a quantity-frequency index, and analyses are conducted using Stata. Results: In the cross-tabulations, no ethnic differences in drinking patterns are found for males or females, nor is there evidence of gender differences within ethnic groups, although there are some age differences in alcohol use. In the logistic regression analyses, two ethnic differences emerge, although the factors most consistently associated with drinking behaviors in these analyses are age, Spanish language use and urban residence. Additional analyses using the 1998 NHSDA suggest that ethnic differences in alcohol use may emerge in late adolescence/early adulthood. Conclusions: Given the established findings of ethnic and gender differences in drinking among adult Hispanics, it is surprising that few differences are evidenced in adolescence. Future research should explore whether such differences emerge during the transition into adulthood and, if so, identify factors that produce them. In addition, to increase understanding of these ethnic groups' drinking patterns, future research should further investigate the factors associated with Hispanic adolescents' alcohol use, including both consideration of whether the predictors are the same across groups and of the role of sociocultural factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-456
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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