A Quantitative Analysis of Latino Acculturation and Alcohol Use: Myth Versus Reality
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Copyright © 2017 by the Research Society on Alcoholism Research on health among Latinos often focuses on acculturation processes and the associated stressors that influence drinking behavior. Given the common use of acculturation measures and the state of the knowledge on alcohol-related health among Latino populations, the current analyses tested the efficacy of acculturation measures to predict various indicators of alcohol consumption. Specifically, this quantitative review assessed the predictive utility of acculturation on alcohol consumption behaviors (frequency, volume, and quantity). Two main analyses were conducted—a p-curve analysis and a meta-analysis of the observed associations between acculturation and drinking behavior. Results demonstrated that current measures of acculturation are a statistically significant predictor of alcohol use (Z = −20.75, p < 0.0001). The meta-analysis included a cumulative sample size of 29,589 Latino participants across 31 studies. A random-effects model yielded a weighted average correlation of 0.16 (95% confidence interval = 0.12, 0.19). Additional subgroup analyses examined the effects of gender and using different scales to measure acculturation. Altogether, results demonstrated that acculturation is a useful predictor of alcohol use. In addition, the meta-analysis revealed that a small positive correlation exists between acculturation and alcohol use in Latinos with a between-study variance of only 1.5% (τ2 = 0.015). Our analyses reveal that the association between current measures of acculturation and alcohol use is relatively small.