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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2016 Jan;77(1):58-67.

Relationship of Usual Volume and Heavy Consumption to Risk of Alcohol-Related Injury: Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Four U.S. National Alcohol Surveys.

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Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, California.



National population data on racial/ethnic disparities and risk of alcohol-related injury are scarce. Alcohol-related injury and drinking patterns are examined in a sample of respondents from four (1995, 2000, 2005, 2010) U.S. National Alcohol Surveys using risk function analysis.


Self-reported consumption of 15,476 current drinkers was assessed as the average number of drinks consumed monthly and, separately, the frequency of consuming five or more drinks in a day (5+ days) in the last year. Alcohol-related injury was defined as drinking within 6 hours before the event. Risk curves were defined, separately for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics, using fractional polynomial regression.


Risk was greatest for Hispanics to 110 drinks per month (3-4 drinks per day) and above 240 drinks per month, whereas risk was greatest for Whites between these levels. Blacks were at lower risk at all monthly volume levels when demographic and socioeconomic status characteristics were controlled for. Whites had the highest risk of an alcohol-related injury based on 5+ drinking days at all levels up to nearly daily 5+ drinking, whereas Blacks had the lowest risk at all levels of 5+ drinking.


A disparity in alcohol-related injury was found for Hispanics compared with Whites at the same average monthly volume of consumption at lower and higher volume levels, but not at the same number of 5+ drinking days, and a lower risk of alcohol-related injury was found for Blacks for both consumption measures when demographic and socioeconomic status characteristics were taken into account. Although exposure to hazards other than alcohol, which could account for some of the racial/ethnic disparity observed, was not taken into account, these mixed findings suggest this is an important area deserving future research attention.

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