Salud Mental

Environmental stressors, socioeconomic factors, and alcohol-related problems among Argentinian college students


Karina Conde
Mariana Cremonte


Introduction. The relationship between alcohol consumption, individual characteristics, and alcohol-related problems may vary according to environmental characteristics in certain populations.

Objective. To explore the existence of a hierarchical structure in the links between environmental stressors, individual socioeconomic factors, regular alcohol consumption, use of other substances, and alcohol-related problems in Argentinian university students.

Method. With a correlational design and data from a random sample of students from a public university (N = 1578, 58% female), we used a multilevel modeling strategy as follows: alcohol-related problems; regular alcohol consumption (quantity/frequency) as fixed effect, use of other psychoactive substances, sociodemographic factors (individual socioeconomic status, age, and gender); and environmental stressors as random effects (index of overcrowding as an indicator of poverty and reported crime as an indicator of violence in the neighborhood).

Results. The rate of overcrowding proved to be the best Level 2 predictor for the alcohol-related problems model. Socioeconomic status, quantity and frequency of consumption, use of other substances, and age directly predicted alcohol-related problems (Level 1). Gender was neither a direct predictor nor a moderator of the links.

Discussion and conclusion. At least one environmental stressor (neighborhood poverty) partly explains the variability observed in alcohol-related problems. The quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption and the use of other psychoactive substances were the strongest predictors of alcohol-related problems.

Environment, socioeconomic factors, alcohol drinking in college, Argentina


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