Cultural Influences on Heavy Episodic Drinking among Latino College Students Despite increasing prevention efforts, college student alcohol use continues to be a prevalent public health problem in the United States83 that is associated with a range of public safety issues on college campuses nationwide.31 To date, research on college student drinking has almost exclusively focused on non-Latino white samples, with very little attention to minority groups such as Latinos. Therefore, further exploration of the determinants of heavy drinking among Latino college students is necessary. Specifically, cultural factors that have been identified as potential influences on predictors of college student drinking deserve further examination. These cultural factors include acculturation (orientation to U.S./Latino culture), ethnic identity, and familismo (importance of family). Existing studies with Latino adolescents and college students have reported inconsistent findings with respect to the relationship between acculturation and alcohol use.21,23,25,27 Results have been similarly mixed with respect to ethnic identity and familismo as predictors of alcohol use.25,79,111 Researchers have suggested that discrepancies in these constructs between parents and their children (i.e., a cultural orientation """"""""mismatch"""""""") may also be related to negative outcomes including alcohol use.86 However, this hypothesis has not been tested with Latino college students. The proposed project would address this issue using an advanced person-centered approach (latent profile analysis) to empirically identify distinct subgroups of parent- student dyads based on their cultural orientations.
The second aim of the project would be to determine if the identified profiles differ in terms of drinking or alcohol-related consequences. If differenes emerge, follow-up analyses will explore potential mediators of group differences (i.e., parent behaviors, peer influences, etc.). Subgroup differences among Latino groups (e.g., Cubans) in relationships among cultural orientation profiles, mediators, and drinking and consequences will also be explored.

Public Health Relevance

The current research will examine the association between cultural factors and other predictors of heavy episodic drinking among Latino college students (e.g., parent and peer influences, attitudes, beliefs). Findings have the potential to inform the development of prevention programs designed for Latino students, a largely understudied subgroup.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Health Services Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
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Godette, Dionne
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Pennsylvania State University
Schools of Allied Health Profes
University Park
United States
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