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J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2006;5(3):75-102.

Differences between Black and White elementary school children's orientations toward alcohol and cocaine: a three-study comparison.

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Center for Substance Abuse Research, University of Maryland, College Park, 4321 Hartwick Rd, Suite 501, College Park, MD 20740, USA.


To trace the origins of race differences in substance use, this study examined differences between Black and White elementary school children's knowledge of alcohol and cocaine, beliefs about their short- and long-term effects, and attitudes toward and intentions to use them across three independent samples (N = 181, N = 287, N = 234). Black children were more negatively oriented toward alcohol and cocaine than White children from an early age. Most notably, in all samples Black children had less positive attitudes toward adult alcohol use and lower intentions to use alcohol. Black children were also more likely to attribute negative long-term health and social effects to alcohol and cocaine use, but there were few significant race differences in knowledge or in expectancies regarding short-term effects of use. Since race differences in beliefs, exposure to alcohol, and socioeconomic factors could not explain race differences in attitudes toward substance use, other cultural differences must be considered.

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