Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 119–129

Discrimination, Racial/Ethnic Identity, and Substance Use Among Latina/os: Are They Gendered?

  • Kristine M. Molina
  • Benita Jackson
  • Noemi Rivera-Olmedo
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-015-9738-8

Cite this article as:
Molina, K.M., Jackson, B. & Rivera-Olmedo, N. ann. behav. med. (2016) 50: 119. doi:10.1007/s12160-015-9738-8



Prior research suggests that stronger racial/ethnic identification offsets negative effects of discrimination on substance use. Yet research in this area and on whether gender modifies this association is limited for Latina/os.


The purpose of the present study is to examine whether different sources of discrimination (everyday and racial/ethnic) are associated with substance use (alcohol use disorder, smoking), if racial/ethnic identity buffers this association, and the potential moderating role of gender among these variables.


We present cross-sectional, US population-based data from the Latina/o adult sample (1427 females and 1127 males) of the National Latino and Asian American Study. Respondents completed self-reported measures of everyday and racial/ethnic discrimination, racial/ethnic identity, smoking status, and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) lifetime alcohol use disorder.


Weighted logistic regression analyses showed that before inclusion of three-way interactions and adjusting for covariates, everyday discrimination predicted increased risk for any DSM-IV lifetime alcohol use disorders. Moderation analyses revealed that the effect of everyday discrimination on the risk of being a current smoker was strongest for Latino men with high levels of racial/ethnic identity compared to those with low racial/ethnic identity. No differences were noted among Latino women. There were no main or interaction effects of racial/ethnic discrimination for any substance use outcome.


Findings suggest differential associations for type of discrimination and outcome and that the role of racial/ethnic identity is gender-specific for smoking, appearing particularly detrimental for Latino men reporting high levels of racial/ethnic identity.


Gender Hispanics Cigarette smoking Alcohol disorders Health behaviors Intersectionality 

Supplementary material

12160_2015_9738_MOESM1_ESM.docx (58 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 57.9 kb)
12160_2015_9738_MOESM2_ESM.docx (89 kb)
ESM 2(PDF 88.8 kb)

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristine M. Molina
    • 1
    • 3
  • Benita Jackson
    • 2
  • Noemi Rivera-Olmedo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Community and Prevention Research AreaUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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