Acculturation and Drug Use Stigma Among Latinos and African Americans

An Examination of a Church-Based Sample

Published in: Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, v. 17, 2015, p. 1607-1614

Posted on RAND.org on February 02, 2015

by Karen Rocío Flórez, Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Joshua Breslau, Beth Ann Griffin, Ann C. Haas, David E. Kanouse, Brian D. Stucky, Malcolm V. Williams

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Substance use patterns among Latinos likely reflect changes in attitudes resulting from acculturation, but little is known about Latinos' attitudes regarding drug addiction. We surveyed a church-based sample of Latinos and African Americans (N = 1,235) about attitudes toward drug addiction and socio-demographics. Linear regression models compared Latino subgroups with African-Americans. In adjusted models, Latinos had significantly higher drug addiction stigma scores compared to African Americans across all subgroups (US-born Latinos, β = 0.22, p .05; foreign-born Latinos with high English proficiency, β = 0.30, p .05; and foreign-born Latinos with low English proficiency, β = 0.49, p .001). Additionally, Latinos with low English proficiency had significantly higher mean levels of drug use stigma compared Latinos with high proficiency (both foreign-born and US-born). In this church-affiliated sample, Latinos' drug addiction stigma decreases with acculturation, but remains higher among the most acculturated Latinos compared to African- Americans. These attitudes may pose a barrier to treatment for Latino drug users.

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