Patterns of alcohol and illicit substance use in the United States and Mexico. Substantive and methodologic issues in the cross-national analysis of alcohol and drug use data
This research examines prevalence of alcohol and illicit substance use in the United States and Mexico and associated socio-demographic characteristics. The sources of data for this study are public domain data from the U.S. National Household Survey of Drug Abuse, 1988 (n = 8814), and the Mexican National Survey of Addictions, 1988 (n = 12,579). In addition, this study discusses methodologic issues in cross-cultural and cross-national comparison of behavioral and epidemiologic data from population-based samples. The extent to which patterns of substance abuse vary among subgroups of the U.S. and Mexican populations is assessed, as well as the comparability and equivalence of measures of alcohol and drug use in these national samples. The prevalence of alcohol use was somewhat similar in the two countries for all three measures of use: lifetime, past year and past year heavy use, (85.0%, 68.1%, 39.6% and 72.6%, 47.7% and 45.8% for the U.S. and Mexico respectively). The use of illegal substances varied widely between countries, with U.S. respondents reporting significantly higher levels of use than their Mexican counterparts. For example, reported use of any illicit substance in lifetime and past year was 34.2%, 11.6 for the U.S., and 3.3% and 0.6% for Mexico. Despite these differences in prevalence, two demographic characteristics, gender and age, were important correlates of use in both countries. Men in both countries were more likely to report use of alcohol and illicit substances than women. Generally speaking, a greater proportion of respondents in both countries 18 years of age or older reported use of alcohol for all three measures than younger respondents; and a greater proportion of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 years reported use of illicit substances during lifetime and past year than any other age group. Additional substantive research investigating population-based samples and at-risk subgroups is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms of these associations. Further development of cross-culturally meaningful survey methods is warranted to validate comparisons of substance use across countries and societies.
Lopez, Javier, "Patterns of alcohol and illicit substance use in the United States and Mexico. Substantive and methodologic issues in the cross-national analysis of alcohol and drug use data" (1997). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9831532.