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.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Type
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
Project #
5F31AA021302-02
Application #
8545520
Study Section
Health Services Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
Program Officer
Godette, Dionne
Project Start
2012-09-07
Project End
2014-09-06
Budget Start
2013-09-07
Budget End
2014-09-06
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$38,287
Indirect Cost
Name
Pennsylvania State University
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Allied Health Profes
DUNS #
003403953
City
University Park
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
16802
Varvil-Weld, Lindsey; Turrisi, Rob; Hospital, Michelle M et al. (2014) Maternal and peer influences on drinking among Latino college students. Addict Behav 39:246-52
Varvil-Weld, Lindsey; Mallett, Kimberly A; Turrisi, Rob et al. (2013) Are certain college students prone to experiencing excessive alcohol-related consequences? Predicting membership in a high-risk subgroup using pre-college profiles. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 74:542-51