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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

FIU Social Capital among Recent Latino Immigrants Influences Substance Use Post-immigration

Researchers at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work and the Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse at Florida International University have published the study, Post-immigration Changes in Social Capital and Substance Use Among Recent Latino Immigrants in South Florida: Differences by Documentation Status, which provides evidence for changing social capital and substance use among immigrants from pre- to post-immigration.

The FIU researchers for this study include: Dr. Mario De La Rosa, Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, Dr. Mariano J. Kanamori Nishimura, Dr. Kristopher Fennie, Dr. Tan Li, Dr. Erica L. Gollub and Dr. Elena Cyrus.

Reducing, preventing and eliminating Latino substance use disparities in the United States is an urgent priority. Compared to non-Latino substance users, Latino substance users face disparities in the consequences related to substance use including greater risk for hepatitis B and C infection among injection users; higher rates of alcohol-related problems including drinking and driving; confinement; intimate partner violence; and cirrhosis mortality.

But this study has found that changing social capital among recent Latino immigrants (RLIs) influences substance use post-immigration. This was a longitudinal study of 476 South/Central American RLIs examining social capital and substance use changes pre- to post-immigration. Self-reported measures of social capital and substance use were compared between surveys administered within one year of immigration and two years, post-immigration.

The study provides evidence for changing social capital and substance use among immigrants from pre- to post-immigration, indicating that for substance use prevention programs and interventions, it may be useful to classify immigrant populations as either recent or more acculturated, as there is a difference in the level of risk between these two groups.

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