Cohesion and conflict: Family influences on adolescent alcohol use in immigrant Latino families

Flavio Marsiglia, Stephen Kulis, Monica Parsai, Paula Villar, Christina Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


This study examines how cohesion and parent-child conflict relate to alcohol use among Mexican-heritage adolescents. The sample consists of 120 adolescents (14 to 18 years) participants from the Southwest sub-sample of the Latino Acculturation and Health Project. Lifetime and recent alcohol use and binge drinking were tested. Results from the logistic regressions identified high and low levels of family cohesion as a risk factor for alcohol use compared to medium levels of cohesion, and parent-child conflict predicted lifetime use and binge drinking. Low and high family cohesion levels appear to be especially problematic among Mexican adolescents who are trying to navigate two different cultural worlds. Although high family cohesion is often a characteristic of Mexican families, Mexican-heritage adolescents may view high family cohesion as a hindrance to their own independence. Unresolved conflict seems to be connected to children's problem behaviors and alcohol misuse could be utilized by adolescents as a mechanism to reduce emotional distress caused by family tensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-412
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Alcohol use
  • Familism
  • Mexican American adolescents
  • Resiliency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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