The data for this study were drawn from a sample of 980 adolescent students in Tijuana, Mexico surveyed in February of 2009. There were 495 (50.3%) males and 485 (49.3%) females, with a mean age of 16. The majority of the mothers (74.2%) and fathers (68.6%) of participants in this study had less than a high school education. Over 80% of the participants indicated that their average grades in school were 80 or higher (equivalent to a B or higher grade point average). Almost a quarter of the participants (22.3%) indicated that their family's economic situation was “poor” or “very poor.” Fourteen of the 33 items from the Bicultural Involvement Questionnaire (Szapocznik, Kurtines, & Fernandez, 1980) were used to create a pre-acculturation scale (á= .853) for this study. The dependent variables were comprised of lifetime and past 30 day use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, as well as binge drinking and being drunk in the past 30 days.
Multivariate regressions were run controlling for gender, age, average grades in school, socioeconomic status, and mother's and father's levels of education. The results indicated that higher pre-acculturation levels significantly predicted higher rates of lifetime and past 30 day alcohol and cigarette use. Higher levels of pre-migration acculturation also significantly predicted binge drinking as well as being drunk within the past 30 days. Higher rates of pre-acculturation, however, did not significantly predict higher rates of lifetime or past 30 day marijuana use.
The results of this study indicate that pre-migration acculturation may have an impact on the development of adolescents living in Mexico and can impact substance use. Social workers in Mexico need to be aware of the potential impact pre-migration acculturation can have on substance use among Mexican adolescents and use this information to develop culturally appropriate substance abuse prevention programs that emphasize cultural and familial protective factors.