The study is titled: Alcohol Use Trajectories of Latino Immigrants During Their First Decade in the United States (1R01AA024127-01A1; PI: De La Rosa)
The escalation of regular and problematic alcohol use among Latino immigrants, as their time in the United States (US) increases, is a well-documented but not well-understood phenomenon. Evidence suggests that shifts in cultural factors related to the acculturation process, such as a waning of protective cultural values, are partially responsible for rises in such health compromising behaviors. The overarching aim of the present study is to examine how changes in social determinants interact with various cultural mechanisms (i.e., cultural practices, cultural values, cultural identifications) to impact pre- to post-immigration alcohol use trajectories of early adult recent Latino immigrants during their first decade in the US.
The proposed study builds upon our Recent Latino Immigrant Study (RLIS) (P20MD002288; PI: De La Rosa) by collecting an additional 3 annual waves of data from the original RLIS sample. The RLIS was the first prospective cohort study to document the pre-immigration alcohol use behaviors of early adult recent Latino immigrants, as well as the underlying social determinants contributing to these trajectories after immigration. Baseline data collected retrospective pre- immigration information from 527 early adult Latinos who had immigrated to the US within the last year. Two follow-ups, 12 months apart, collected post-immigration data. Rather than indicating typical patterns of increased alcohol use among women (and little change in men) over time, our findings revealed decreases in alcohol use for documented (but not undocumented) men with no significant change in women. Results revealed associations between various social determinants as potential risk/protective factors of acculturative stress and alcohol use. Collectively, these outcomes suggest that, for at least some subsets of Latino immigrants, the well-known escalation of alcohol use as their time in the US increases may not hold. There is a need for future research that identifies how risk/protective social determinants interact with various cultural mechanisms to impact distinct pre- to post-immigration alcohol use patterns among male and female recent Latino immigrants as their time in the US increases.
The aims of the proposed study are to: 1) Examine how changes in pre- to post-immigration risk/protective social determinants impact alcohol use trajectories among male and female early adult Latino immigrants, 2) Identify how cultural mechanisms impact the alcohol use trajectories of male and female early adult Latino immigrants, 3) Determine the moderating role of cultural mechanisms on the relationship between changes in pre- to post-immigration social determinants and alcohol use trajectories among male and female Latino immigrants during early adulthood. Recognizing the personal and social contexts in which cultural mechanisms influence alcohol use patterns among Latino immigrants is a critical step in developing effective and culturally appropriate interventions that target associated vulnerability factors and take advantage of key protective factors in this population.