Drug Abuse and Identity in Mexican Americans: Theoretical and Empirical Considerations

Felipe Castro, Erica V. Sharp, Elizabeth H. Barrington, Maureen Walton, Richard A. Rawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This review proposes the construct of drug use identity and presents a 4-stage model that features this construct. This 4-stage modelproposes that drug use identity, a latentfactor, undergoes a progressive transformation from identity as a casual user during the initiation stage (Stage 1), to identity as a drug addict at the treatment entiy stage (Stage 2), to identity as a recovering addict at the late treatment stage (Stage 3). At the posttreatment recovery stage (Stage 4), this new identity as a recovering addict may operate as a mediator of the social influences effected by a sober reference group. These social influences prompt a sustained identity as a recovering addic4 along with enhanced ethnic pride, increased social role responsibility, and enhanced health motivation and behavior. For drug-addicted Mexican Americans, enhanced ethnic pride, whether discovered or reestablished, may develop as a consequence of a progression toward a “maturing identity. “ Directions for theory and research based on this framework are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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