Comparison of alcohol drinking behaviors and associated problems between benders and nonbenders in Mexican Americans who drink excessively

Huai Rong Luo, Tamiko Konishi, John Tsuang, Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Bender drinking (defined as 2 or more days of sustained drinking) is common among Hispanic/Mexican Americans. However, no data are available on whether there are significant differences in alcohol-related behavioral and medical problems between benders and nonbenders, when both groups are heavy drinkers. To bridge this research gap, we investigated drinking behavior and alcohol-associated problems in Mexican American alcoholics using the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism (SSAGA-II). METHODS: Participants included 201 heavy drinking (≥6 drinks/d) Mexican American men with 75.6% of them meeting criteria for bender drinking. Drinking behaviors, demographics, and alcohol-related problems were characterized in the 201 alcoholics, and then these variables were compared between benders and nonbenders. RESULTS: Demographically, benders were more likely to be single than nonbenders (P=0.001) but there were no other differences between the 2 groups. Regarding drinking patterns, benders exhibited distinct [P<0.001, odds ratios (ORs)=3.65 to 10.20] drinking behaviors to that of nonbenders, including thinking of drinking where it was prohibited, drinking regularly before age 20, and drinking nonbeverage alcohol such as mouthwash. Moreover, benders exhibited significantly (P<0.001, ORs=3.63 to 6.42) more drinking-related negative behaviors compared to nonbenders, such as forfeiting important things, putting oneself in dangerous situations, becoming less responsible, exhibiting problems at work or school, losing friendships, accidentally injuring oneself, hitting other people, as well as more alcohol-related medical and emotional problems (ORs=3.02 to 6.94), such as feeling depressed for longer than 24 hours, having trouble thinking for longer than 24 hours, hallucinations, and stomach disease. CONCLUSIONS: Among a group of excessive drinking Mexican American men, benders had more serious negative drinking-related behavioral and health problems than nonbenders. Thus, from a public health perspective, reducing the number of benders among heavy drinking Mexican Americans should be considered as an initial step to reduce alcohol-related problems. These data might be useful in developing strategies to reduce alcohol-related problems in Mexican Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Disorders and their Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol dependence
  • Alcoholics
  • Bender
  • Mexican Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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