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Alcohol Health Res World. 1998;22(4):233-41.

Alcohol consumption among racial/ethnic minorities: theory and research.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of Texas, Dallas, Texas, USA.


Ethnic minorities (e.g., Hispanics, blacks, Asian-Americans, and Native Americans) are still underrepresented in alcohol research in the United States. Furthermore, existing studies often do not take into consideration the variability that exists within each ethnic group, resulting in inaccurate generalizations. Studies among Hispanics have found substantial differences among Hispanic subgroups in drinking patterns and rates of alcohol-related problems. Moreover, no single variable can explain the observed patterns. Similarly, numerous factors have been shown to shape drinking patterns among blacks, including individual and environmental characteristics as well as historical and cultural factors. Different subgroups of Asian-Americans also vary substantially in their rates of drinking and heavy drinking, although their lifetime alcohol use is lower than the national average. Genetic and cultural factors, as well as stress and historic experiences, may influence drinking patterns of Asian-Americans. The widely differing drinking patterns among Native Americans also are likely shaped by a variety of influences.

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