Alcohol consumption is pervasive in the United States, and extent of alcohol consumption for the growing US Hispanic population needs further study. We examined the association between language chosen for a national health survey and alcohol use among Hispanic adults.
Hispanic participants aged 18 years and older (N = 20,234) from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were stratified by choice of language (English, n = 13,035; Spanish, n = 7,199) for completing the survey. Differences for these 2 groups in current alcohol use, heavy alcohol use, and binge drinking were determined by using χ2 analyses and logistic regression models.
In bivariate associations, current drinking (P < .001), heavy drinking (P < .001), and binge drinking (P = .002) were significantly higher among participants who chose to complete the survey in English than among those who elected to complete the survey in Spanish. After controlling for demographic characteristics, associations between language choice and drinking behaviors were found to be greatest among women. Compared with women who chose to complete the survey in Spanish, women who chose to complete the survey in English were more than twice as likely to report current drinking (odds ratio [OR] = 2.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.02-2.91), heavy drinking (OR = 3.82, 95% CI = 1.44-10.10), and binge drinking (OR = 2.51, 95% CI = 1.64-3.84).
This study suggests that language choice when completing a health survey is a predictor of high levels of alcohol use among Hispanic adults in the United States and that differences in drinking behaviors based on language choice for a survey are more profound among women.