Alcohol use is considered less acceptable for women than men in the Mexican culture. However, recent studies of Mexican-American (MA) women show that prevalence and rates of alcohol use are escalating, particularly in those with high acculturation to Western standards. Building on recent studies that demonstrated that drinking-related identities (self-schemas) are important predictors of alcohol use in college populations, this secondary data analysis investigated the association between acculturation, MA cultural values, and acculturative stress, drinking-related self-schemas and heavy drinking over time in college-enrolled MA women. Data were drawn from a 12-month longitudinal study of self-schemas and health-risk behaviors in 477 college-enrolled MA women. Drinking-related self-schemas, acculturation, MA cultural values and acculturative stress were measured at baseline, and heavy drinking was measured at baseline, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Thirty-six percent of women had a non-drinker self-schema but only 3% had a drinker self-schema. Higher spirituality was protective against heavy drinking, and this effect can be partially explained by presence of a non-drinker self-schema. Interventions that emphasize the personal relevance of being a non-drinker and support the importance of spirituality may help to prevent heavy drinking in MA college women.

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