200079 Neighborhood variation in alcohol use for African American and white youth

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:42 AM

Allison Brenner, MPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Adolescent alcohol use is associated with poor academic, developmental and health outcomes. Although parental and peer influences are crucial predictors of substance use for white youth, for African Americans the family and peer contexts may not fully explain alcohol use. Evidence suggests that living in disadvantaged neighborhoods influences youth alcohol use by undermining parental controls; increasing contact with deviant peers; and increasing stress, fear and anxiety. African American youth, who are disproportionately represented in disadvantaged neighborhoods, may be more strongly influenced by neighborhood factors than their white peers.


This research will examine the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and alcohol use for black and white youth, controlling for individual-level risk. Although researchers have found racial differences in alcohol use, they have not adequately addressed the factors that explain these differences.


This study will employ multilevel modeling to examine adolescent alcohol use by degree of neighborhood disadvantage. The sample is from the first wave of a longitudinal study of ninth graders in Flint, Michigan (Flint Adolescent Study). We will examine whether neighborhood is associated with alcohol use after controlling for individual risk, and whether the effect of neighborhood on alcohol use is moderated or mediated by individual assets and social resources.

Expected Outcomes

We expect neighborhood disadvantage to be more strongly associated with alcohol use for black versus white youth, and alcohol use to vary by neighborhood disadvantage. We also expect social support and prosocial participation to protect all youth against the harmful effects of living in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Learning Objectives:
Participants attending this session will: 1.Demonstrate an understanding of how neighborhood conditions affect the alcohol use behavior of youth. 2.Identify alcohol risk factors for youth on the individual, family/peer and community level. 3.Explain differences in alcohol use risk factors for African American versus white youth. 4.Assess the ways in which social resources may affect the relationship between neighborhood risk and alcohol use for youth.

Keywords: Adolescents, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently work as a graduate research assistant on the Flint Adolescent Study, and use the data from this study for my own research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.