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Health Equity. 2018 Dec 13;2(1):356-365. doi: 10.1089/heq.2018.0059. eCollection 2018.

Differential Effects of Pregnancy-Specific Alcohol Policies on Drinking Among Pregnant Women by Race/Ethnicity.

Author information

1
Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, California.
2
Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, California.
3
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), Santa Cruz, California.
4
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

Abstract

Purpose: Alcohol use during pregnancy is a significant public health concern. Nearly all U.S. states have enacted policies targeting alcohol use during pregnancy, but there has been little research examining their impact, particularly across racial/ethnic groups. Methods: Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and about eight state-level, pregnancy-specific alcohol policies from 1985 to 2016, the aim of this study was to examine the differential effects of these policies on drinking among pregnant women by race/ethnicity. Results: We found evidence of differential effects for priority treatment, prohibitions on criminal prosecution, and civil commitment policies. In relation to priority treatment policies, effects benefited versus harmed different racial/ethnic groups depending on whether the priority treatment policies were for pregnant women only or if they gave priority to both pregnant women and pregnant women with children. Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that benefits and harms from these policies do not appear to be equitably distributed across different racial/ethnic groups. Research considering the impact of alcohol/pregnancy policies should consider differential effects by race/ethnicity.

KEYWORDS:

alcohol; alcohol policy; binge drinking; pregnancy

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