Alcohol abstinence and binge drinking: the intersections of language and gender among Hispanic adults in a national sample, 2002–2018

Christopher P. Salas-Wright, Manuel Cano, Audrey Hang Hai, Miguel Ángel Cano, Sehun Oh, María Piñeros-Leaño, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Prior research examining alcohol use using national data has often overlooked vital heterogeneity among Hispanics, especially that related to language dominance and gender. We examine the prevalence of alcohol abstinence and—given prior research suggesting that many Spanish dominant Hispanics do not drink—examine rates of binge drinking among past-year alcohol users with a focus on the intersections of language and gender among Hispanics, while drawing comparisons with non-Hispanic (NH) White and NH Black adults. Methods: Drawing from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health—a nationally representative survey between 2002 and 2018—we examine the year-by-year prevalence of alcohol abstinence and binge drinking among adults ages 18 and older in the United States. Results: A disproportionate number of Spanish-dominant Hispanics abstain from alcohol use (54%), with particularly high levels of alcohol abstinence observed among Spanish dominant women (men: 39%, women: 67%). The prevalence of alcohol abstinence among English-dominant Hispanic men (24%) and women (32%) is far lower, approximating that of NH Whites (men: 23%, women: 32%). Importantly, however, among Spanish-dominant drinkers, the prevalence of binge drinking (men: 52%, women: 33%) is comparable to or greater than NH Whites (men: 42%, women: 32%). Binge drinking levels among English-dominant Hispanic men (50%) and women (37%) are greater than among their NH White counterparts. Conclusion: Findings paint a complex picture; consistent with prior research, we see that many Hispanics abstain from alcohol, but we also see new evidence underscoring that—among Hispanic drinkers—the prevalence of binge drinking is disconcertingly elevated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-736
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health [Award Number K01AA026645]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIAAA or the NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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