What ales you: factors that predict alcohol use among hispanic college students

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University of Alabama Libraries

Heavy drinking among college students has been identified as a major public health concern in the United States. While research on college drinking is extensive, it is almost exclusively focused on white non-Hispanic populations, with minimal attention to ethnic minority groups--particularly the Hispanic college student. The aim of this study was threefold: 1) to investigate differences in drinking patterns between Hispanic and white non-Hispanic college students; 2) to examine gender differences in drinking behavior within the Hispanic college student population; and 3) to identify predictive factors that influence the drinking behavior of Hispanic college students while using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory as a theoretical lens. The Core Alcohol and Drug Survey was used to collect data on college students’, beliefs, attitudes, and experiences associated with alcohol use in college. The sample data used in this study was collected from 2011-2015 and was delimited to include only full-time undergraduate students identifying as Hispanic and white non-Hispanic (N=54,030). Four research questions provided the basis of the study which were operationalized by Astin’s (1993) input environment outcome model (IEO). Descriptive analyses were conducted to describe the sample in terms of individual and institutional characteristics based on ethnic origin (Hispanic and white non-Hispanic), experiences on a college campus, and alcohol use. Independent sample t-tests were conducted to determine statistical significance of differences between Hispanic and white non-Hispanic students and gender differences within the Hispanic college student population. To determine the magnitude and practical significance of the effect size in the differences between these groups, effect size was calculated using Cohen D. Lastly, inferential statistics using a hierarchical, multiple regression were used to find predictive factors for alcohol use with the Hispanic college student population. Statistical significance results were reported for each model in the regression. Emerging predictive factors regarding binge drinking episodes among Hispanic college students included: gender, campus size, perceptions of alcohol use, participation in campus organizations, expectancies of alcohol as a tool to handle stress, expectancies of alcohol as a means of facilitating social bonds with men, it’s perceived ability to allow people to have more fun, make food taste better, makes women & men sexier, and negative consequences of hangover, getting in trouble with police, missing classes, and getting arrested for DWI/DUI. Considerations and implications for law enforcement personnel, higher education practitioners, and future researchers are included.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Behavioral sciences, Higher education, Hispanic American studies