261918 Effects of race on the relationship between heavy drinking and alcohol problems

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jane Witbrodt, PhD , Public Health Institute, Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville, CA
African Americans and Hispanics have higher rates of alcohol-related morbidity and mortality than Whites do. As heavy drinking is a leading cause of preventable mortality, one would expect that racial/ethnic differences in heavy drinking play a role in racial disparities in alcohol problems. However, some prior studies have found that at even at given levels of consumption and heavy drinking, minorities are at greater risk for experiencing dependence symptoms and negative alcohol-related consequences than Whites. This study aims to address these puzzling findings. Using 2005 and 2010 National Alcohol Survey data (n=7,249 drinkers with over-samples for minority groups), we conduct analyses to assess the differential risk for alcohol problems across racial/ethnic groups at given levels of heavy drinking. Importantly, this study advances prior research by taking into account recent reports of racial/ethnic differences in drink-size estimation that imply some minority groups may be consuming larger quantities than reported on surveys. Additionally, the large sample size permits analysis of the specific types of alcohol-related problems that minorities are more prone to experience at given levels of heavy drinking. Study results will thus indicate to what extent racial disparities remain after adjusting for group differences in drink-size underreporting. Further, results describing specific types of alcohol problems will illuminate the extent to which drinking behaviors, as well as socio-cultural factors, are implicated in racial/ethnic disparities in alcohol problems. Preliminary analyses suggest minorities experience more consequences at equivalent levels of drinking, especially at lower levels of drinking, and their drinking-related problems differ from Whites.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
To empirically test and explain racial/ethnic disparities in heavy drinking and drinking-related problems among Hispanics, African Americans and Whites using a large nationally representative sample of drinkers and employing well-known and validated measures for alcohol consumption, drinking patterns, and alcohol-related problems/consequences.

Keywords: Ethnic Minorities, Alcohol Problems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in alcohol and drug research for the past 20 years, with 15 years at the Alcohol Research Center. I have several first authored publications in reputable journals in various areas of addiction 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.