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Race/Ethnic Differences in Alcohol Abuse Among Youth.

Authors
  • Watt, Toni Terling1
  • 1 a Texas State University , 601 University Drive, ELA 237, Texas State University , San Marcos , TX , USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of ethnicity in substance abuse
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2004
Volume
3
Issue
3
Pages
33–47
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1300/J233v03n03_03
PMID: 29019289
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Black and Hispanic youth are less likely to abuse alcohol than White youth. However, the reasons for these race/ ethnic differences in alcohol abuse are unclear. The present study explores whether the variations can be explained, in part, by racial/ethnic differences in attitudes toward risk. The National Household Survey of Drug Abuse, 2001 (n = 32,798) is used to explore race/ethnic differences in risk-taking attitudes and whether these attitudes serve to mediate race/ethnic differences in heavy drinking and drinking and driving. Bivariate analyses reveal that Black and Hispanic youth have lower rates of alcohol abuse and a lower propensity for risk-taking than White youth. Logistic regressions reveal that the differences in risk-taking explain (but do not completely account for) observed differences in alcohol abuse. These findings are present for both males and females. Results more generally reveal that social and economic ad vantages are associated with risk-taking attitudes and thus indirectly contribute to alcohol abuse. Researchers have long been surprised that minority youth exhibit lower rates of alcohol abuse than White youth since socioeconomic disadvantage often contributes to substance abuse. However, the present study suggests that social and economic disadvantages might also suppress risk-taking propensities, which in turn may reduce the incidence of alcohol abuse. Additional research is needed to understand the mechanisms by which social and cultural resources affect attitudes toward risk.

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