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Purpose: The “Latina paradox” and mitigating cultural/social-support factors have been extensively studied. However, further investigation is warranted comparing the complex interplay among substance use, psychosocial stress, mental health, and socioeconomic factors between Spanish-speaking and English-speaking pregnant women.

Methods: Data were collected from 311 pregnant women (275 English-speaking, 36 Spanish- speaking), screened for eligibility into the ENRICH-2 prospective cohort study, and 98 enrolled. Screening questionnaires included questions about demographics, AUDIT-C, and binge (≥4 drinks/occasion) and heavy drinking (≥14 drinks) around last menstrual period (LMP).

Following enrollment, perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale, PSS), symptoms of anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, GAD-7) and depression (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, EPDS) were evaluated.

Data: Differences in self-reported alcohol use and PSS/GAD-7/EPDS scores among speakers assessed via Fisher’s exact/Chi-square and Mann-Whitney U-tests. Associations/interactions between PSS scores and language-group, PSS score and prenatal alcohol use, examined using analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Results: Among women screened (n=311), a lower percentage of Spanish-speakers (vs. English- speakers) had a high school education or less (80.6% vs 28.4%, p<.001). A lower percentage had an AUDIT-C score >2 (19.4% vs 57.8%, p<0.01). Groups demonstrated similar binge and heavy drinking around LMP. Among enrolled participants (n=98), Spanish-speakers were older (32.4+4.5 vs 28.2+5.4, p<0.01), and a higher percentage reported household-income <$30,000 86.7% vs. 31.3%, p<0.001). Baseline PSS scores were higher among English-speakers (13.7±6.9) compared to Spanish-speakers (6.2±5.1, p=0.001) and remained significantly higher in the third trimester (p=0.01). Higher EPDS (7.0±5.4, p=0.01) and GAD-7 scores (5.9±5.2 vs. 2.2±3.1, p>0.01) were observed in English-speaking participants. In ANOVA models, Spanish- speaking was associated with lower PSS scores (p=0.001); while alcohol-use and interactions between the two were not significant.

Conclusions: Spanish-speaking pregnant women exhibit reduced psychological distress, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and lower prevalence of hazardous alcohol use compared to English-speaking counterparts despite disadvantaged socioeconomic factors. NIH//NIAAA funding:R01AA021771


Poster presented at the Brain & Behavioral Health Research Day 2021



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