Asian American Problem Drinking Trajectories During the Transition to Adulthood: Ethnic Drinking Cultures and Neighborhood Contexts

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We aimed to identify problem drinking trajectories and their predictors among Asian Americans transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. We considered cultural and socioeconomic contextual factors, specifically ethnic drinking cultures, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and neighborhood coethnic density, to identify subgroups at high risk for developing problematic drinking trajectories.


We used a sample of 1333 Asian Americans from 4 waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (1994-2008) in growth mixture models to identify trajectory classes of frequent heavy episodic drinking and drunkenness. We fitted multinomial logistic regression models to identify predictors of trajectory class membership.


Two dimensions of ethnic drinking culture-drinking prevalence and detrimental drinking pattern in the country of origin-were predictive of problematic heavy episodic drinking and drunkenness trajectories. Higher neighborhood socioeconomic status in adolescence was predictive of the trajectory class indicating increasing frequency of drunkenness. Neighborhood coethnic density was not predictive of trajectory class membership.


Drinking cultures in the country of origin may have enduring effects on drinking among Asian Americans. Further research on ethnic drinking cultures in the United States is warranted for prevention and intervention.

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