Immigrant paradox? Generational status, alcohol use, and negative consequences across college

Kaylin M. Greene, Jennifer L. Maggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The current study examined linkages between generational status, alcohol use, wanting to get drunk, and negative alcohol-related consequences during college. We tested whether immigrant students’ longitudinal alcohol use trajectories converged to dominant unhealthy patterns or whether immigrant students maintained healthier patterns across college. We also examined if the weekend exerted equal risk for students of different generations. Furthermore, we explored whether patterns were consistent among Latinx and Asian American students. Stratified random sampling identified first-year students attending a US college. A longitudinal daily diary design was used; students completed web-based surveys for up to 14 days within each of 7 semesters. Each day, participants (N = 689; n1st generation = 114; n2nd generation = 244; 51% female) reported their alcohol use and consequences (N = 55,829 days). Multi-level models demonstrated that compared to 3rd generation students, 1st generation students were more likely to abstain from alcohol and less likely to binge drink and want to get drunk. First generation students also experienced fewer negative alcohol-related consequences. The protective effect of being 1st generation was maintained across college semesters, with subgroup analyses focusing on Latinx and Asian American students largely supporting the main findings. However, for abstaining and negative consequences, the weekend effect was less pronounced for immigrants than later generation students. For example, the difference in negative consequences between 1st (vs. 3rd) generation students was largest on the weekend. Additional work is needed to understand how 1st generation students leverage protective factors to abstain from alcohol use even when exposed repeatedly to “wet” drinking environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-143
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Dec 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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