Funding: NIAAA R21 AA015972
A secondary analysis focusing on Latina respondents to the 2004-2005 U.S. National Alcohol Survey conducted by the Alcohol Research Group. The proposed study addresses a prominent national goal and an interest shared by NIH and the Institute of Medicine in explaining and reducing health disparities. The study also reflects a recognition that Latinas in the U.S. (seldom emphasized in alcohol research) can be at risk for problematic alcohol use: In recent trends, rates of frequent heavy drinking among Latina drinkers appear to have matched and eclipsed those among white female drinkers; further, some evidence suggests that Latinas can experience greater drinking-related consequences than white females. Prior research has indicated a role for acculturation in alcohol use among this population. Hence, the current study aims to help illuminate mechanisms of action underlying acculturation’s effects on drinking outcomes among Latinas, focusing on perceived discrimination (and specifically, racial stigma consciousness) as a candidate. The project’s focus on racial stigma, little-studied in reference to drinking, makes it exploratory. The application also examines a role for socio-economic resources in Latina drinking; potential protective effects for religiosity and social support; and predictors of help seeking among this population. Analyses will include scale analyses, traditional regressions, and structural equation modeling. By accomplishing these aims, the research will contribute to existing knowledge surrounding the effects of discrimination on health outcomes among minorities. Data will also help identify populations at risk for alcohol problems, and illuminate avenues for interventions aiming to prevent or address alcohol problems among Latinas by, for example, capitalizing on the effects of social support and spiritual involvement.