This paper examines the prevalence, the symptom profile, and the drinking and sociodemographic predictors of current (past 12 months) DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence among Mexican Americans living along the U.S.–Mexico border and those living in metropolitan areas away from the border.
Respondents in the non-border areas (primarily Houston and Los Angeles) constitute a multistage probability sample (N = 1,288) of these areas, interviewed as part of the 2006 Hispanic Americans Baseline Alcohol Survey (HABLAS). Respondents in the border area (N = 1,307) constitute a household probability sample of Mexican Americans living on the border. In both surveys, data were collected during computer-assisted interviews conducted in respondents' homes. The HABLAS and the border sample response rates were 76 and 67%, respectively.
Although bivariate analyses revealed no overall differences between border and non-border locations, (negative) age trends were more pronounced on the border for male abuse and for dependence among both genders. Among females aged 18 to 29, border residence was linked to significantly higher rates of dependence. In multivariable analyses, the prevalence of male abuse declined more rapidly with age on the border than off the border. Other unique predictors of male abuse were Jewish/other religion and weekly volume of alcohol consumption. Being married or out of the workforce, attaining a higher education, having no religious preference, and weekly volume uniquely predicted female dependence. Age and weekly volume uniquely predicted male dependence.
The prevalence of alcohol use disorders among Mexican Americans on and off the U.S.–Mexico border largely mirrors previously documented patterns of alcohol consumption in these areas. For young Mexican American women in particular, border residence is linked to heightened vulnerability to alcohol dependence.