Linking Alcohol-Specific Masculine Norms and Drinking Behavior Among Latino Men

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A robust literature suggests men typically engage in more general and heavy alcohol use than women, and that many health disparities related to drinking are more prevalent among Latino men compared with non-Latino White men. Researchers posit that adherence to masculine gender role scripts may be one reason men choose to drink alcohol. To date, research linking masculinity to drinking among Latinos has been mixed and has used broad measures for masculinity that are arguably quite distal from alcohol outcomes. Thus, the primary aim of this study was to prospectively examine the link between previous bidimensional conceptualizations of masculinity among Latino men (i.e., machismo) and drinking while incorporating a more proximal, alcohol-specific measure of masculinity. Using data collected from two time points, results indicated that baseline endorsements of masculine norms characterized by drinking to excess were robustly related to both general and problematic alcohol use 6 months later. Conversely, baseline endorsements of masculine norms characterized by controlled drinking were related to later reductions of alcohol-related problems. Broader bidimensional measures of machismo (i.e., traditional machismo and caballerismo) at baseline were also included in each model and were unrelated to later general and problematic drinking. These data suggest there is merit to employing masculinity scales that more specifically capture the role of masculinity on alcohol outcomes among Latino emerging adults. In doing this, findings pertaining to masculinity and drinking may be more easily translated into prevention and intervention settings.

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