For many of us our experience of the US-Mexico border is one of seemingly endless custom lines, traffic noise and congestion, and the long wait for an agent to review our documents. That’s because most of us are just passing through, on our way to beaches in the south and back to our homes in the north. But what about the people who live on either side – how does the border that divides two countries, and all too often families as well, impact the people and communities that live within its shadow?
A research project headed up by multiple-PIs Cheryl Cherpitel and Guilherme Borges hopes to find out by studying Mexican-origin adults living in three paired metropolitan areas, called sister cities, at the Texas-Mexico border. They will also include two non-border cities, one on each side of the border, to see how they compare. They’ll be looking at alcohol consumption, drug use, and rates of alcohol abuse and dependence among residents of the border cities versus the people living in the non-border cities. The study will also assess how mobility – the ability to travel across the border – affects alcohol and drug use.
Door-to-door, in-person interviews were collected on 2,336 Mexican-origin adults over the age of 18 living in the border cities of Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville, Texas and in the non-border city of San Antonio, Texas, and 2,460 adults over the age of 18 living in the border cities of Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros, Mexico, and the non-border city of Monterrey, Mexico.
The researchers hope that study findings will help to inform intervention and prevention strategies for residents living on both sides of the border as well as within the broader Mexican-origin community as more individuals living close to the border move to the US.
Cherpitel C.J., Ye Y., Bond J., Zemore S.E., Borges G., Greenfield T.K. (2015). Border effects on DSM-5 alcohol use disorders on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Jan. 19 Abstract or Full Text
Borges G., Zamora B., Garcia J., Orozco R., Cherpitel C.J., Zemore S., Breslau J. (2015). Symptoms of anxiety on both sides of the US-Mexico border: the role of immigration. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 61 46-51 Abstract or Full Text