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Addiction. 1996 Jun;91(6):845-57.

Black identity and drinking in the US: a national study.

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  • 1California Public Health Foundation, Berkeley, USA.


The relationship between ethnic identity and drinking patterns was explored in 1947 black adults from a nation-wide study of drinking behavior. Factor analysis revealed that a multi-dimensional construct which included four factors-media preferences, socio-political awareness, endogamy and social networks-was necessary to operationalize and measure the concept of ethnic identity. Using structural equation modeling, a model was tested which analyzed the impact of ethnic identification on religiosity and drinking norms, which in turn were predictors of drinking and heavier drinking latent variables. The results showed that ethnic identity influenced drinking behavior indirectly through its effects on drinking norms and religiosity as well as directly. Most aspects of ethnic identity decreased drinking levels. Respondents who scored higher on involvement with black social networks and black social and political awareness drank at lower levels than other respondents. These results were attributed to the prevalence of norms for abstinence and high levels of social control regarding drinking in black communities. However, high scores on using black media increased drinking rates. It was suggested that the promotion of alcohol use in black orientated media as well as the social settings attended by those who prefer black media might increase alcohol consumption.

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