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Am J Public Health. 1990 Dec;80 Suppl:54-60.

Acculturation and marijuana and cocaine use: findings from HHANES 1982-84.

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  • 1School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts, USA.


We examined the relation between acculturation and illicit drug use among Hispanics in the United States employing data from the 1982-84 Hispanic Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey (HHANES). Across all Hispanic groups, acculturation into US society, as reflected in English language use, was associated with higher rates of illicit drug use even after sociodemographic variables such as gender, age, income, and education were considered. Significant interactions between language and education indicated that the predominant use of English was more strongly associated with marijuana and cocaine use among Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans of lower educational attainment than among those of higher educational attainment. Significant interactions between language use and other factors such as sex, marital status, and place of birth were also associated with marijuana and cocaine use. These results suggest that the experience of acculturation, especially as it relates to drug use, is closely tied to the social and economic context in which an individual lives.

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