Acculturation stress, anxiety disorders, and alcohol dependence in a select population of young adult Mexican Americans

Cindy L. Ehlers, David A. Gilder, Jose R. Criado, Raul Caetano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Objectives: Mexican Americans comprise one of the most rapidly growing populations in the United States, and within this population, the process of acculturation has been suggested to be associated with some mental health problems. This study sought to ascertain quantitative information indexing acculturation stress and it's association with mental health disorders in a select community sample of Mexican Americans. Methods: Demographic information, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-III-R diagnoses, and information on cultural identity and acculturation stress were obtained from 240 Mexican American young adults that were recruited by fliers and were residing in selected areas of San Diego. Results: No associations were found between measures of cultural identification and lifetime diagnoses of drug or alcohol dependence, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, or antisocial personality disorder or conduct disorder in this sample of Mexican American young adults. However, lifetime diagnoses of alcohol dependence, substance dependence, and anxiety disorders were associated with elevations in acculturation stress. Conclusion: Quantitative measures of acculturation stress, but not cultural identity per se, were found to be associated significantly with substance dependence and anxiety disorders in this select population of Mexican American young adults. These data may be helpful in designing prevention and intervention programs for this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of addiction medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Acculturation stress
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mexican Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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