Alcohol consumption and physical symptoms in a Mexican American population

Carlos F.Mendes De Leon, Kyriakos S. Markides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The negative health consequences of alcohol consumption are well established. The present study examines whether alcohol consumption is also associated with a series of self-reported physical symptoms. Analyses were performed on data from a three-generation study of Mexican Americans. Using four measures of alcohol consumption we found that alcohol consumption was related to physical symptoms only in the younger generation. While drinking levels in the older generation did not have sufficient variance to enable the assessment of their effects on symptoms, drinking levels in the middle generation were comparable to those in the younger generation. We hypothesized that the lack of association in the middle generation may reflect increased tolerance due to londer exposure to alcohol, to possible reduction of alcohol consumption by some middle-aged persons because of health problems, and to due possible removal from observation of certain middle-aged men whose heavy drinking led to health problems. Although alcohol consumption in the younger generation was not strongly associated with either psychosomatic or infectious symptoms, it was strongly related to upper respiratory symptoms among younger males. Among younger women, alcohol consumption was moderately related to physical symptoms with no symptom constellation having a particularly strong association with alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-379
Number of pages11
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1986


  • Age differences
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Generations
  • Mexican Americans
  • Physical symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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