Journal of Behavioral Health and Psychology. 2018; 7(2):(238-318)


Social determinants of alcohol use and heaving episodic drinking among Hispanic young adults

Keith A. King, Joseph S. Frank, Rebecca A. Vidourek, Ashley L. Merianos

Abstract

Background: Although there are numerous preventive measures in the literature, a vast percentage of Hispanic young adults continue to engage in alcohol use and heavy episodic drinking. The purpose of the study was to examine social determinants of recent alcohol use and heavy episodic drinking among Hispanic young adults 18–25 years of age. Methods: In 2016, a secondary analysis (N = 3,452) was performed of 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data. A series of logistic regression analyses were performed to determine whether recent alcohol use and heavy episodic drinking differed based on sex, education level, family income, employment status, location of residence (type of metro area), self-reported health status, first use of alcohol before age 21, first use of tobacco before age 21 and first use of marijuana before age 21. Results: Regarding alcohol use, 51.8% of Hispanic young adults reported that they had consumed alcohol in the past month and 35.0% reported that they had engaged in heavy episodic drinking. Hispanic young adults at highest risk for recent alcohol use were male, had some college or more, had high family income, were employed, lived in a large metropolitan area, had excellent/very good health status, and had early initiation of substance use. Those at highest risk for heavy episodic drinking were male, were employed, and had early initiation of substance use. Conclusion: The present study found that a sizeable percentage of Hispanic young adults are involved in recent alcohol use and heavy episodic drinking. Since Hispanic young adults are disproportionately at risk for substance use and scarce resources are available to effectively address the needs of this population, further interventions are warranted. Findings may aid prevention scientists in developing, implementing and evaluating alcohol use programs for this population.

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