Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 182-191

First online:

Perceived barriers to opportunity and their relation to substance use among Latino immigrant men

  • India J. OrnelasAffiliated withUniversity of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Email author 
  • , Eugenia EngAffiliated withDepartment of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • , Krista M. PerreiraAffiliated withDepartment of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Theory and empirical evidence suggest that perceived barriers to opportunity, such as discrimination, can lead to the adoption of unhealthy behaviors. The study assessed the relationship between perceived racial/ethnic, language and legal status barriers to opportunity and substance use among Latino immigrant men in North Carolina. Logistic regression was used to test for the association between perceived barriers and odds of binge drinking in the past 30 days and cigarette smoking. In both crude and adjusted models, perceived language barriers (OR = 3.05, 95% CI: 1.78–5.25) and legal status barriers (OR = 2.25, 95% CI: 1.26–4.01) were associated with increased odds of having engaged in binge drinking. Perceived barriers to opportunity were not significantly associated with cigarette smoking. Further research is needed to better understand the effect of language and legal status barriers on health among Latino immigrants.


Alcohol Tobacco Latino Immigrant Discrimination