Newswise — “Acculturation” occurs when members of one cultural group adopt the beliefs and behaviors of another group. Research on alcohol use among Latino populations often focuses on acculturative processes and associated stressors that influence drinking. This review investigated how effective a measure of acculturation is at predicting several drinking behaviors among Latinos.

This meta-analysis (review of common outcomes) of 29 published studies and two unpublished studies included 29,589 Latino participants. The authors evaluated the utility of current measures of acculturation in predicting the frequency, volume, and quantity of drinking among Latinos. A second, sub-analysis looked at the effects of gender and the use of different scales to measure acculturation.

Current measures of acculturation appeared to be a useful predictor of alcohol use. However, the effects of acculturation on drinking behavior were relatively small. Sub-analysis found that the association between acculturation and alcohol use in Latinos was greater in women than in men, and that language use was the strongest and most effective predictor of acculturation. The authors noted that these findings collectively provide a strong argument against treating acculturation as a uniform process across all groups irrespective of race, ethnicity, culture, gender or social status.