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Journal Article


Zemore SE. Alcohol Clin. Exp. Res. 2005; 29(12): 2144-2153.


Alcohol Research Group, Berkeley, CA.


(Copyright © 2005, John Wiley and Sons)






BACKGROUND:: Fundamental limitations have hampered conclusions surrounding acculturation's effects among Latinos. This research re-examines associations between acculturation and alcohol use, addressing the most troubling of these limitations. The research also explores mediators of the association, and the dimensional structure of acculturation. METHODS:: Linear regressions and scale analyses were used to analyze data from Latino adults in the U.S. (825 women, 761 men) sampled in the 1995 National Alcohol Survey. Analyses used a standard, reliable acculturation scale and well-validated drinking measures; systematically accounted for demographic covariates; and analyzed men and women separately. RESULTS:: As expected, higher acculturation was positively associated with a higher probability of drinking (vs. abstinence) among women, and higher average volumes and more frequent drunkenness among female drinkers. Acculturation was unrelated to alcohol use among men. Also as expected, mediational analyses of average volume supported expectations that gender-specific drinking norms would mediate acculturation's effects (though norms did not explain acculturation's associations with either drinking status or frequency of drunkenness). Analyses investigating depressive symptoms showed no support for the acculturation-stress model. Factor analyses of the acculturation scale supported the hypothesized distinctions between linguistic acculturation, attitudinal acculturation, and the social environment of acculturation. Further, items implying more intimate exposure to Anglo culture (i.e., language use) were most strongly related to drinking outcomes among women, supporting the normative interpretation of acculturation's effects on drinking. CONCLUSIONS:: Results underline acculturation's influence on alcohol consumption among Latina women, and highlight the role of drinking norms in mediating this association. Results also suggest a multidimensional view of acculturation. The article recommends further research on drinking norms and other potential mediators of acculturation's effects among Latina women.


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