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Addict Behav. 2000 May-Jun;25(3):361-71.

A comparative analysis of perceived risks and substance abuse among ethnic groups.

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  • 1Department of Health Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122-0843, USA.


This study examined perceived risks and prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use among ethnic groups of Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics; compared the extent to which drug use varied among different ethnic groups; explored whether or not there were any age and gender differences in drug use among the ethnic groups; and made implications of the findings. Comparative analyses were conducted by using chi2 to determine the association of independent variables (ethnicity, age, and gender) with the dependent variables (alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use) during lifetime, past year, and past month. Data were derived from the 1997 and 1996 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Our findings indicated that there are differences in perceived risks and reported use among ethnic groups, as well as in preferences for particular drugs. Whites are the least likely to perceive risks for substance abuse, however, they have the highest prevalence of lifetime drug use of most types of drugs (with the exception of crack cocaine and heroin), as compared with Blacks and Hispanics. The examination of past month categories of drug use shows that Whites had the highest prevalence rates of alcohol and smokeless tobacco use. Hispanics were more likely to binge, and reported higher prevalence of heavy alcohol use. Blacks were more likely than Whites or Hispanics to use crack and heroin in their lifetime. Implications were made for future research and drug prevention in ethnic populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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