Objective: To report data on drinking patterns and DSM-IV alcohol and drug dependence among whites and Mexican Americans in treatment for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Method: Interviews were conducted with a sample of 250 whites and 250 Mexican Americans admitted to one of five DUI treatment programs in a Northern California county. Interviews averaged 1 hour in length and were conducted in the programs by trained interviewers. The response rate was 72% for whites and 83% for Mexican Americans. Results: Whites drink most frequently, followed by U.S.-born Mexican Americans and, finally, by Mexican Americans born in Mexico. However, rates of the amount of alcohol usually consumed are higher for Mexican Americans born in Mexico than for the other two groups. Prevalence rates of DSM-IV alcohol dependence are: 29% for whites, 27% for U.S.-born Mexican Americans and 9% for those born in Mexico. Prevalence rates of DSM-IV drug dependence are: 23% for whites, 24% for U.S.-born Mexican Americans and 6% for those born in Mexico. Conclusions: Rates of alcohol and drug dependence in these DUI treatment programs are much higher than rates of dependence in the general population, independent of ethnicity. Patterns of alcohol consumption vary dramatically among whites, U.S.-born Mexican Americans and Mexican Americans born in Mexico. The large amounts of alcohol ingested per occasion by Mexican-born Mexican Americans is particularly noteworthy and may put them at more risk for DUI. However, drug use and drug dependence are higher among whites and U.S.-born Mexican Americans than among Mexican Americans born in Mexico.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)