Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

October 2007


Published in Addictive Behaviors 32:10 (October 2007), pp. 2187–2199; doi 10.1016/j.addbeh.2007.02.014. Copyright © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Prior research with non-college samples of Mexican Americans has demonstrated that gender moderates the association between acculturation and alcohol use. We replicated this finding in a college student sample and attempted to account for the differential impact of acculturation on Mexican American men and women by examining the mediating effects of social context, family conflict and psychological functioning. Participants were 148 Mexican Americans (67% female; M age 23 years) from three state universities in California and Texas who completed self-report surveys. In multivariate analyses controlling for age, maternal education, living situation, and site, linguistic acculturation was associated with increased alcohol use and misuse among women but not men. Two social context variables (social facilitation and family drinking) mediated the association between acculturation and alcohol use (heavy drinking, past year alcohol use, and a composite drinking variable) among women. The findings highlight the importance of social context for understanding alcohol use by Latina college students and indicate directions for future research and intervention development.