PI (UT subcontract): Lynn Wallisch, Ph.D.
Co-Investigators: Jane Maxwell, Ph.D., Richard Spence, Ph.D.
2009 – 2014
People of Mexican origin constitute the largest subgroup of Hispanics in the US (70 percent), representing 29 percent of the country’s immigrant population. A substantial proportion of these immigrants come to the US from border areas in Mexico. A large percentage of border Hispanics is also native-born. Little epidemiologic data exist on substance use or related disorders along the US-Mexico border on either side, or on the effect of stressors associated with border residence. The proposed research aims to describe and explain alcohol and drug use patterns and related problems among Mexican-origin adults living in two pairs of sister metropolitan areas at the Texas-Mexico border, plus, as a contrast, in one adjacent non-border metropolitan area on each side of the border. The research will also test a conceptual model explaining the effects of border residence on alcohol and drug use outcomes; variables examined will include cross-border mobility and migration, acculturation, social support, exposure to violence, social norms, perceived enforcement of laws, and socio-economic factors.
Survey data from face-to-face household interviews will be collected on 2,400 Mexican-origin adults over the age of 18 living in three border metropolitan areas (Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville), and one non-border metropolitan area (San Antonio) in Texas, and on 2,400 adults living in three sister metropolitan border counterparts (Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros), and one non-border metropolitan area in Mexico. Dr. Lynn Wallisch will take a leading role in overseeing field work conducted on the Texas side of the border by the TAMU Public Policy Research Institute (funded by ARG under separate agreement); assist P.I. Cherpitel in overseeing fieldwork carried out on the Mexican side; and participate in analysis of data collected through these field actitivities.
This research, which builds on two previous federally-funded studies of drug and alcohol use on the Texas side of the border conducted by Drs. Wallisch, Spence and Maxwell in 1996 and 2003, is expected to increase our understanding of alcohol use patterns and problems in the border context, including the influence of cross-border mobility, and provide valuable data for formulating hypotheses which can be explored in a broader border context. Research findings will inform intervention and prevention related to substance use at the border.
Sponsor: Public Health Institute Alcohol Research Group / NIAAA R01AA018365, P.I.: C. Cherpitel)