Binge Drinking and Perceived Neighborhood Characteristics Among Mexican Americans Residing on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Patrice A C Vaeth, Raul Caetano, Britain A. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Background: This study examines the association between perceived neighborhood violence, perceived neighborhood collective efficacy, and binge drinking among Mexican Americans residing on the U.S.-Mexico border. Methods: Data were collected from a multistage cluster sample of adult Mexican Americans residing in the U.S.-Mexico border areas of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas (N = 1,307). The survey weighted response rate was 67%. Face-to-face interviews lasting approximately 1 hour were conducted in respondents' homes in English or Spanish. Path analysis was used to test whether collective efficacy mediated the impact of perceived neighborhood violence on binge drinking. Results: Among 30+-year-old women, perceived neighborhood collective efficacy mediated the effects of perceived neighborhood violence on binge drinking in a theoretically predicted way: Lower perceptions of violence predicted an increased perception of collective efficacy, which in turn, predicted less binge drinking. Direct effects of violence perceptions on binge were nonsignificant. Younger 18- to 29-year-old women showed a similar (but nonsignificant) pattern of effects. Perceived collective efficacy also mediated the effects of perceived violence on binge drinking among men, but in opposite ways for older and younger men. Older men showed the same mediating effect as older women, but the effect reversed among younger men due to a strong, positive relation between collective efficacy and binge drinking. There were also age differences in the direct effect of violence perceptions on binge drinking: Perceptions of violence predicted more binge drinking among young men, but less among older men. Conclusions: These results highlight the complexity of people's responses to neighborhood characteristics in regard to their drinking. Young men in particular seem to react very differently to perceptions of collective efficacy than other groups. However, among both men and women, collective efficacy may come to play an increasingly important protective role in health outcomes with age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1727-1733
Number of pages7
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Binge Drinking
  • Collective Efficacy
  • Mexican Americans
  • Neighborhood Perceptions
  • U.S.-Mexico Border

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology

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