Characteristics and Drinking Patterns in Alcohol Abusing Mexican American Men

Ai She Leng, Maria Calvillo, Tamiko Konishi, Gloria D. Guzman, Elberth Pineda, Keh Ming Lin, John Tsuang, Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. Alcoholism has become a prominent problem among Mexican Americans, but few studies have examined it using a structured diagnostic instrument. This study describes the demographics and drinking patterns of a heavy drinking group of Mexican American men by using the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism H (SSAGA-H). Methodology: Six hundred thirty subjects were screened. After screening, 201 male Mexican Americans with heavy alcohol consumption histories (more than 6 drinks per day for more than 5 years) were assessed. Subjects' demographic variables were collected and a portion of SSAGA-II was used to establish alcohol dependence criteria and drinking patterns. Results: The prevalence rate for DSM-IV alcohol dependence among the 201 heavy drinking male Mexican Americans was 91.5% (n = 184). Demographic characteristics showed that the average age of subjects was 39, with a majority of them being single, unemployed, born in Mexico, and having less than 12 years of education. They started drinking at a young age and reported being drunk early in the course. More than half drank only beer, and one third drank more than 12 drinks per day on average. The inability to control drinking and the physiological symptoms associated with alcohol consumption were clusters of dependence criteria most likely to be endorsed by our subjects. Discussion: We studied a cohort of heavy drinking Mexican American men and described their drinking patterns as well as their demographics. Our study was the first to use a structured instrument on Mexican Americans. Although our findings are not generalizable to all Mexican Americans, they provide us needed information in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-17
Number of pages4
JournalAddictive Disorders and their Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol dependence
  • Alcoholics
  • Male Mexican Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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