Heavy Drinking During Periods of High Unemployment15-Year Trend Study of the Role of Race/Ethnicity
Objectives: This study conceptualized high unemployment rate as a stressor deriving from the social structure. It tracked American adults' heavy drinking rates 1997-2011, intending to examine (1) whether heavy drinking escalates with rising unemployment, and (2) whether racial minorities, who feel economic downturns more than the majority, engage in heavy drinking at a higher level than Whites in times of high unemployment. Methods: Research questions were answered using data from the Combined National Health Interview Survey. The present final sample included only respondents classified as heavy drinkers: those reporting that, on days (in the preceding year) on which they had consumed alcohol, they had regularly had at least 5 drinks. Results: The study, which considered individual-level social structural factors, overall found rising unemployment rate to be associated with high measures for heavy-drinking frequency but low measures for heavy-drinking quantity. It did not find race to moderate the unemployment-heavy-drinking relationship, although some empirical evidence has shown racial minorities to be relatively more responsive to fluctuating unemployment inherent in the economic cycle. Conclusions: Our results in general call for further research on roles of gender and race in heavy drinking, especially where Black females are concerned. Blacks' greater heavy-drinking frequency and greater heavy-drinking quantity (versus Whites) observed in this study may shed light on persistent racial disparities in Americans' health.
MSU Digital Commons Citation
Lo, Celia C. and Cheng, Tyrone, "Heavy Drinking During Periods of High Unemployment15-Year Trend Study of the Role of Race/Ethnicity" (2013). Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works. 62.