We examined increases in self-reported alcohol-related problems among black and white adult drinkers using data from the 1984 and 1992 National Alcohol Surveys. The objectives of the study were to determine whether alcohol consumption, drinking norm, or socioeconomic status were related to increases in alcohol-related problems. Two types of self-reported alcohol- related problems were analyzed using regression methods: drinking consequences and alcohol dependence symptoms. Results indicated that increases in alcohol consumption were associated with increased drinking consequences for white men, but increased consumption had little affect for black men. Changes in drinking norms regarding non-social drinking were associated with increases in drinking consequences among black men, such norms showed little affect on drinking consequences for white men. Despite substantial increases in alcohol consumption among black women from 1984 to 1992, there were no significant racial/ethnic differences in drinking consequences or alcohol dependence symptoms among women. Changes in socioeconomic status were however related to increases in drinking consequences and alcohol dependence symptoms in women, but not in men. Findings suggest that liberal drinking norms may have greater long term consequences for black than white men. Socioeconomic status, on the other hand, may have greater explanatory power in predicting increases in alcohol- related problems in women than in men.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse through Grants A06050 and AA05595, and by start-up funds from the Division of Epidemiology, Minnesota, School of Public Health.
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