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Survey of Hispanics and alcohol dependence

HOUSTON(July 28, 2008)A large survey conducted by researchers at The University of Texas School of Public Health Dallas Regional Campus, which examined alcohol abuse and dependence among Hispanic male populations in the United States, will be expanded to Mexican males living along the U.S.-Mexico border. The expansion is supported by a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Researchers will survey 1,500 Mexican-American males living on the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to examine their alcohol consumption and behavior. This research will then be compared with the sample of 1,500 Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and Houston who were surveyed as part of previous research.

"The border population is particularly interesting because it is exposed to underage drinking options, with Mexico's legal drinking age being 18," says Raul Caetano, M.D., Ph.D., regional dean of the UT School of Public Health Dallas Regional Campus. "Along with age, we will be considering other factors such as religious affiliation, the Mexican culture's influence, the cost of drinking and male/female behavior comparisons."

The researchers will explore the difference in the Mexican border population as compared to that of the non-border population. The acculturation of the non-border population will also be considered as a factor when examining Catholic or Protestant religious affiliation.

The original survey was funded by a $5 million grant from the NIH and examined various Hispanic populations in the United States and their rate of alcohol consumption. In the first survey, the Mexican-American and Puerto Rican populations had higher rates of alcohol dependence than South Central and Cuban Americans. For instance, Mexican and Puerto Ricans men had a 15 percent rate of alcohol dependence, whereas Cubans and South Central Americans showed 5 percent and 9 percent dependence, respectively. As a whole, the U.S. male population has 5 percent alcohol dependence.

The fieldwork for the new survey will be carried out by the Public Policy Research Institute of Texas A&M University through a contract with the UT School of Public Health and will be conducted within the next six months.


Contact: Natalie Camarata
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

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