Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 188–192 | Cite as

Country of Birth and Language Spoken at Home in Relation to Illicit Substance Use

  • Li-Yin Chien
  • M. Anne George
  • Robert W. ArmstrongEmail author


Background: This study examines the association between country of birth, language spoken at home, and lifetime illicit substance use in a Canadian national sample.

Method: Secondary analysis of data was conducted using a sample of 8,656 persons who were between 15 and 54 years of age in 1994 and who participated in Canada’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Survey.

Results: Rates of substance use differed among the four groups (42.6% for Canadian-born who spoke official languages, 33.8% for Canadian-born who spoke non-official languages, 35.2% for foreign-born who spoke official languages, and 11.1% for foreign-born who spoke non-official languages). The rate differences persisted after adjustment for socio-demographic factors, religiousness, friends’ use of substances, and participation in social activities.

Interpretation: More in-depth studies that include culture-specific information are required to explain the rate differences. In addition, alternative preventive strategies may be required to reduce substance use among foreign-born persons.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li-Yin Chien
    • 1
  • M. Anne George
    • 2
    • 3
  • Robert W. Armstrong
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.School of NursingNational Yang Ming UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of British Columbia, Children’s & Women’s Health Centre of BCVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Community Health & Health Evaluation ResearchChildren’s & Women’s Health Centre of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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