Salud Mental

Problematic alcohol use in Mexican students: Transmission from parents to children


María Elena Medina-Mora Icaza
Jorge Ameth Villatoro Velázquez
Marycarmen Bustos Gamiño
Marcela Tiburcio Sainz
Emilia Lucio Gómez-Maqueo


Introduction. Studies in various countries have shown that adolescents with a history of parental use of alcohol have a greater risk of presenting alcohol problems of their own, including binge drinking, driving under the influence of alcohol, and alcohol dependence. A few studies in Mexico have also found this association, but these have been carried out with non-representative populations.

Objective. To examine the association between a history of parental alcohol use and binge drinking, and parental use and possible dependence on alcohol, in a national sample of junior high and high school students in Mexico.

Method. A descriptive correlational study was carried out based on a secondary analysis of the National Survey of Student Drug Use (Encuesta Nacional de Consumo de Drogas en Estudiantes, ENCODE), which questioned 114,364 respondents. The association was evaluated with an estimate of prevalence ratios (PR).

Results. Students whose mothers or both parents used alcohol had a greater risk for binge drinking (PR [mother] = 2.12, p < .001; PR [both parents] = 2.18, p < .001) and possible alcohol dependence (PR [mother] = 5.43, p < .001; PR [both parents] = 5.14, p < .001). Those whose fathers alone used alcohol had a lower risk for binge drinking (PR = 1.35, p < .001) and for possible dependence (PR = 1.83, p < .001).

Discussion and conclusion. This study shows differences in the effects of problematic alcohol use by parents: use by the mother or by both parents implies a greater risk of binge drinking and possible dependence for their children. This finding should be considered in the design of interventions to prevent binge drinking.
Binge drinking, possible dependence, students, parents, intergenerational transmission of alcohol use


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