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Examining Drinking Patterns and Problems among Hispanic Groups: Results from a National Survey

Amie L. Nielsen

Objective: This study examines and compares the drinking patterns and problems of members of four Hispanic groups (Cubans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics) in the United States, with information presented by gender and age. Method: The 1993 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, a recent national probability sample of the household population aged 18 and over in the United States, is used. Data are obtained through in-person interviews. The sample includes 4,462 Hispanics of Cuban (n = 620), Mexican (n = 2,467), Puerto Rican (n = 619) and Central and South American (n = 756) origin. Analyses are conducted using SUDAAN. Results: There are significant differences across the Hispanic groups in their drinking patterns and problems. Among men, Mexican Americans report the most frequent and heavy drinking, and the greatest prevalence of drunkenness and alcohol-related problems. Cubans report the lowest percentages of such respondents, and Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics are in between the other two groups. For women, fewer ethnic differences are evidenced than for men. In general, Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans drink more often and heavily and experience more problems than the other groups. Even after controlling for predictors of adult alcohol use, some ethnic differences in drinking persist. Conclusions: The four Hispanic groups have different drinking patterns. More research is necessary to determine the factors associated with differences in drinking across Hispanic groups. (J. Stud. Alcohol 61: 301-310, 2000)