Immigration studies show that the social adaptation of second-generation youth is conditioned by the pace of acculturation among parents and children, cultural and economic barriers, and family and community resources for confronting barriers. This research, however, has primarily focused on the link between acculturation and acculturative stress on Latino adolescents residing in large urban communities. There is a lack of research on the social integration of Latino youth living in rapidly expanding non-metropolitan communities. Consequently, we explored cultural aspects and potential risk and protective factors for early onset of alcohol use for Latino youth. Our findings indicate these rural Latino youth face unique and common stressors compared to urban youth that place them at risk for alcohol use. Cultural expectations surrounding substance use, however, may serve as protective factors to substance use for Latino youth, particularly girls.
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