Acculturation and Driving Under the Influence

A Study of Repeat Offenders

Published in: Journal of Studies on Alcohol, v. 67, no. 3, May 2006, p. 458-464.

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Sarah B. Hunter, Eunice C. Wong, Christopher Beighley, Andrew R. Morral

OBJECTIVE: In California, driving under the influence (DUI) arrest and conviction rates are disproportionately higher among the Hispanic population. Acculturation and other factors associated with drinking and driving may help explain this disparity. METHOD: Interviews with Hispanic repeat DUI offenders were conducted immediately prior to sentencing and 2 years later. Arrest records from these offenders were also examined. Analyses were performed to examine the association between acculturation and other sociodemographic characteristics at baseline with DUI arrests and convictions at a 2-year follow-up. RESULTS: Logistic regression modeling showed that acculturation was significantly related to self-reported DUI recidivism even after controlling for other factors associated with DUI convictions during a 2-year follow-up. Acculturation was not found to have a statistically significant relation to DUI arrest rates during that same period. CONCLUSIONS: Among a Hispanic sample of repeat DUI offenders, the less-acculturated members were more likely to report a repeat DUI conviction at 2-year follow-up than the more-acculturated ones, even after controlling for other characteristics associated with DUI behaviors, such as drinking severity and marital status. The same pattern was not found between acculturation and arrest rates. Acculturation may serve as a risk factor for repeat convictions. Efforts to reduce multiple DUI convictions may need to consist of ways to target persons who are less acculturated.

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