Preimmigration Family Cohesion and Drug/Alcohol Abuse Among Recent Latino Immigrants

Frank R. Dillon, Mario de la Rosa, Mariana Sanchez, Seth J. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Given the growing population of Latino immigrants in the United States, it is critical for counselors to understand pre- and postimmigration social contextual factors affecting the mental health of this heterogeneous ethnic population. The objective of our cross-sectional, retrospective study was to investigate the potential protective influence of preimmigration family cohesion on drug/alcohol abuse just prior to migration among 527 Latino young adults (age 18–34 years). Multivariate Poisson regression indicated that preimmigration family cohesion was inversely related with harmful/hazardous alcohol consumption, the frequency/quantity of alcohol use, and illicit drug use when controlling for the potentially confounding sociodemographic factors of gender, age, education, income, marital status, and immigration status (documented or undocumented). Associations between family cohesion and drug/alcohol use behaviors varied between Central American immigrants and Caribbean/South American regional groups. Preimmigration findings offer a fuller contextual understanding of the lives of Latino young adult immigrants and support the importance of family cohesion as a buffer against drug/alcohol abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-266
Number of pages11
JournalThe Family Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Latino immigrants
  • alcohol use
  • family cohesion
  • illicit drug use
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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