The rapid financial, political and social changes on-going in the U.S. today have large-scale implications for the risk behavior and health outcomes in America's most marginalized communities. Particularly vulnerable to these transitional processes are youth residing in U.S.- Mexico border communities, a largely neglected population whose heavy documented levels of alcohol consumption far exceed the current national rate. The present study seeks to examine an integrated micro and macro level framework of socioeconomic and political rapid transition on drinking behavior among Mexican youth residing in the U.S.-Mexico border region. The study consists of two distinct phases. During Phase 1, we will conduct two qualitative activities. Specifically, we will conduct: 1) focus groups with local key informants (n=20) from government institutions, law enforcement, and local health and service providers and 2), individual in-depth interviews with adolescents and their mothers residing in border communities (n=20 dyads). Informed by Phase 1 activities, during Phase 2 we will develop and administer a survey to 300 mother-adolescent dyads residing in Texas border communities to identify the political, social, cultural, economic and individual-level determinants of adolescent alcohol use that will be further explored in the larger R01 study and to establish the concurrent validity of these measures. The proposed exploratory study will provide preliminary data to support the long term goal of the program of research, the development of a targeted alcohol prevention intervention for border youth. The proposed project is highly significant and has the potential to greatly impact conceptual frameworks related to prevention of alcohol and other risk behavior given the ongoing and frequent occurrence of destabilizing financial and political events in the current global environment.
The present research examines an innovative framework on how recent socioeconomic and political transitions shape alcohol use among youth residing in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border;a region particularly vulnerable and neglected in current alcohol prevention efforts. Findings will inform alcohol interventions targeting border youth and increase understanding of how transitional contextual processes influence risk behavior in the current global environment of financial crises and destabilizing political events.