Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 569–576 | Cite as

The Relative Importance of Immigrant Generation for Mexican Americans’ Alcohol and Tobacco Use from Adolescence to Early Adulthood

  • Albert M. Kopak
Original Paper


The rapidly growing Hispanic population in the US may be at-risk for greater substance use according to immigrant generation status. This study utilized latent growth curve analyses to determine whether trajectories of alcohol and cigarette use vary according to immigrant status in a Mexican-heritage sample (n = 1,274) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Changes in alcohol and cigarette use were estimated over a 13-year span from adolescence (mean age = 15.9) to early adulthood. Alcohol use did not vary significantly by immigrant status. In contrast, third generation youth experienced greater increases in cigarette use over time compared to their second generation peers. Second generation youth also experienced greater acceleration in cigarette use compared to first generation youth. Immigrants who arrived in the US more recently experienced slower acceleration in cigarette use compared to those who have been in the US for longer periods of time.


Immigrant status Substance use Mexican American Adolescent Early adulthood 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Belk 106Western Carolina UniversityCullowheeUSA

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