The effect of acculturation on alcohol and tobacco use in pregnant and non pregnant Latinas: A comprehensive meta-analysis

Karli Kimiye Kondo Zearley, University of Rhode Island


With a rapidly growing Latino population in the U.S., a clear understanding of acculturation and its related outcomes is increasingly necessary. While reported rates of alcohol use and smoking in Latinas are currently low, literature suggests that acculturation is positively related to both smoking and drinking in pregnant and non-pregnant Latinas, thus placing them at risk for poorer health outcomes. Current research in the area often aggregates Latinos into a seemingly homogenous category, thereby masking any potential differences in the effects that may exist among the many ethnic subgroups. In addition, research in the area differs in the ways that acculturation is conceptualized and measured, ranging from proxy variables to formal validated scales. This study sought to synthesize findings in the current literature base, as well as to better understand whether variables such as age, ethnic subgroup and type of acculturation measure served to mediate or moderate the relationship between acculturation, smoking and alcohol use. Four meta-analyses were performed examining the effect of acculturation on alcohol use (n = 29), smoking (n = 26), prenatal drinking (n = 7), and prenatal smoking (n = 8) in Latinas. Similar to previous findings, results indicate that higher acculturated Latinas are at greater risk for both smoking and alcohol use, with effect sizes in the overall analyses ranging from OR = 1.556 [0.934, 2.592] for prenatal alcohol use, to OR = 2.263 [1.128, 4.542] for prenatal smoking, and mean effects of OR = 1.805 [1.572, 2.072] for smoking, and OR = 2.197 [1.849, 2.611] for alcohol use. In addition, results suggest that the effects of acculturation among Latinas differ according to age and ethnic subgroup, with a greater effect on smoking and drinking behaviors in adults as compared to adolescents, and a greater effect on Cuban Latinas for alcohol use as compared with all other ethnic subgroups. Finally, while results were similar among the various acculturation measures, the results here suggest that subtle differences may exist among measures, and that for prenatal alcohol use in particular, the effect of acculturation may be curvilinear with Latinas at “middle” stages at lower risk.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Health Sciences, Public Health

Recommended Citation

Karli Kimiye Kondo Zearley, "The effect of acculturation on alcohol and tobacco use in pregnant and non pregnant Latinas: A comprehensive meta-analysis" (2012). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3503024.