Poor, persecuted, young, and alone: Toward explaining the elevated risk of alcohol problems among Black and Latino men who drink.Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Jun 01; 163:31-9.DA
Even given equivalent drinking patterns, Black and Latino men experience substantially more dependence symptoms and other consequences than White men, particularly at low/no heavy drinking. No known studies have identified factors driving these disparities. The current study examines this question.
The 2005 and 2010 National Alcohol Surveys were pooled. Surveys are nationally representative, telephone interviews of the U.S. including Black and Latino oversamples; male drinkers were analyzed (N=4182). Preliminary analyses included negative binomial regressions of dependence symptom and consequence counts testing whether effects for race/ethnicity were diminished when entering potential explanatory factors individually. Additional analyses re-examined effects for race/ethnicity when using propensity score weighting to weight Blacks to Whites, and Latinos to Whites, first on heavy drinking alone, and then on heavy drinking and all explanatory factors supported by preliminary analyses.
Preliminary regressions suggested roles for lower individual SES, greater prejudice and unfair treatment, and younger age in the elevated risk of alcohol problems among Black and Latino (vs. White) men at low heavy drinking levels; additional support emerged for single (vs. married) status among Blacks and neighborhood disadvantage among Latinos. When Blacks and Latinos were weighted to Whites on the above variables, effects for race/ethnicity on dependence counts were reduced to nonsignificance, while racial/ethnic disparities in consequence counts were attenuated (by >43% overall).
Heavy drinking may be especially risky for those who are poor, exposed to prejudice and unfair treatment, young, and unmarried, and these factors may contribute to explaining racial/ethnic disparities in alcohol problems.