The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3318.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - Board 8

Abstract #70846

Stressors and their relationship to drinking problems among black and white Americans

Nina Mulia, DrPH, Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, 2000 Hearst Ave., Suite 300, Berkeley, CA 94709, 510-642-5208,

Previous research has found higher rates of drinking problems among black Americans compared to white. Considering that alcohol can play a role in alleviating stress, this finding may reflect racial differences in experiences of stress. Exploring this possibility, this secondary analysis utilizes data from the 1995 U.S. National Alcohol Survey to examine four types of stressors (economic strain, discrimination, situational stress, and adverse events) in relation to frequent heavy drinking and alcohol dependence among black and white Americans. Bivariate analyses indicate that among black drinkers, economic strain is associated with both frequent heavy drinking and alcohol dependence. In addition, a gradient effect was observed such that frequency of exposure to discrimination, situational stress, and adverse events is proportionately related to the prevalence of drinking problems in blacks. After adjusting for covariates, discrimination and situational stress remained independently associated with dependence. By contrast, drinking problems among whites were not associated with all four stressors, and gradient effects were seldom found. Frequently experiencing adverse events was, however, independently related to dependence among whites. These findings from a national sample highlight the link between stress and drinking problems, and suggest that type of stressor and frequency of exposure are highly relevant. Future research should assess the direction of causality in these relationships and more closely examine the nature of stressors affecting racial groups. Variation in group experiences of structural and social stressors may help to explain racial disparities in alcohol problems.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Minority Health, Stress

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Alcohol Problems and Solutions in Special Populations Poster Session

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA