Do parent-child acculturation gaps affect early adolescent Latino alcohol use? A study of the probability and extent of use

Ronald B. Cox, Martha Zapata Roblyer, Michael J. Merten, Karina M. Shreffler, Kami L. Schwerdtfeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


The literature has been mixed regarding how parent-child relationships are affected by the acculturation process and how this process relates to alcohol use among Latino youth. The mixed results may be due to, at least, two factors: First, staggered migration in which one or both parents arrive to the new country and then send for the children may lead to faster acculturation in parents than in children for some families. Second, acculturation may have different effects depending on which aspects of alcohol use are being examined. This study addresses the first factor by testing for a curvilinear trend in the acculturation-alcohol use relationship and the second by modeling past year alcohol use as a zero inflated negative binomial distribution. Additionally, this study examined the unique and mediation effects of parent-child acculturation discrepancies (gap), mother involvement in children's schooling, father involvement in children's schooling, and effective parenting on youth alcohol use during the last 12 months, measured as the probability of using and the extent of use. Direct paths from parent-child acculturation discrepancy to alcohol use, and mediated paths through mother involvement, father involvement, and effective parenting were also tested. Only father involvement fully mediated the path from parent-child acculturation discrepancies to the probability of alcohol use. None of the variables examined mediated the path from parent-child acculturation discrepancies to the extent of alcohol use. Effective parenting was unrelated to acculturation discrepancies; however, it maintained a significant direct effect on the probability of youth alcohol use and the extent of use after controlling for mother and father involvement. Implications for prevention strategies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 24 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol use
  • Curvilinear
  • Effective parenting
  • Father involvement
  • Latino
  • Mother involvement
  • Negative binomial

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