Black-White Differences In Alcohol Use By Women: Baltimore Survey Findings
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Black-White Differences In Alcohol Use By Women: Baltimore Survey Findings

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    Public Health Rep
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    Although black women suffer disproportionately from alcohol-related illnesses and causes of death, little is known about the extent to which poorer outcomes are a function of differences in drinking, the use of health services, or some combination of these factors. This study, using interview data obtained in the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area household survey, compares racial differences in alcohol use and abuse among a sample of 2,100 women. After controlling for differences in sociodemographic characteristics, black women were found to be at no greater risk than whites for heavy drinking or for suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence. Racial differences, however, were observed in heavy drinking by years of education. A similar percentage of black women and white women who had not completed high school were heavy drinkers, but black women with 12 or more years of education were less likely to be heavy drinkers than whites with comparable education. These findings raise questions about the extent to which differences in drinking contribute to the poorer alcohol-related health outcomes of black women in Baltimore. Additionally, the finding that education was inversely related to heavy drinking among black women may be helpful in shaping early alcohol abuse intervention and treatment services that target black women.
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