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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007 Dec;31(12):1968-90.

Acculturation and alcohol among Latino adults in the United States: a comprehensive review.

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1
Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville, California 94608, USA. szemore@arg.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In light of the inconsistent evidence associating acculturation with drinking outcomes among Latinos in the United States, the current paper comprehensively reviews the literature on this topic.

METHODS:

Studies were eligible for review if they (1) were published in a refereed journal, (2) were published in English, (3) sampled Latino/Hispanic adults aged 18+, (4) examined self-reported drinking behavior, alcohol-related problems, and/or alcohol abuse/dependence, and (5) reported original results or unique analyses from a larger dataset. The review includes only studies using composite scales of acculturation. Studies were identified via electronic databases (i.e., PSYCHINFO, ETOH, and PUBMED) using search terms, and combinations thereof, including "acculturat*," "alcohol*," "Latino," and "Hispanic." This search was supplemented by recursive checking and author searches. Thirty-two articles were identified and coded on methodological characteristics; results from 24 disaggregating genders and using appropriate outcomes were summarized.

RESULTS:

Higher acculturation was very consistently associated with higher odds of drinking among women, even controlling for demographic covariates. The evidence for women also suggested associations between higher acculturation and heavier drinking on other outcomes, including total volume, drinking frequency, typical quantity, heavy/problem drinking, drinking problems, and abuse/dependence, despite some null results. Relationships were weaker and ambiguous among men. Some evidence suggested that highly acculturated men are (compared with peers low on acculturation) more prone to drink, and perhaps as a result, can show higher consumption and problems. However, results also implied that, among male drinkers, higher acculturation may be associated with a lighter drinking pattern. Important study limitations were identified, including low power, aggregation of nondrinkers with drinkers, restrictive sampling, measurement issues, and analytical issues.

CONCLUSIONS:

The pattern of results suggests important associations between acculturation and drinking outcomes-particularly for women-but conclusions are tempered by serious methodological limitations. The review urges further research, particularly large-scale, longitudinal studies, addressing these limitations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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