Epidemiology of drinking, alcohol use disorders, and related problems in US ethnic minority groups

Raul Caetano, Patrice A C Vaeth, Karen G. Chartier, Britain A. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews selected epidemiologic studies on drinking and associated problems among US ethnic minorities. Ethnic minorities and the White majority group exhibit important differences in alcohol use and related problems, including alcohol use disorders. Studies show a higher rate of binge drinking, drinking above guidelines, alcohol abuse, and dependence for major ethnic and racial groups, notably, Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaskan Natives. Other problems with a higher prevalence in certain minority groups are, for example, cancer (Blacks), cirrhosis (Hispanics), fetal alcohol syndrome (Blacks and American Indians/Alaskan Natives), drinking and driving (Hispanics, American Indians/Alaskan Natives). There are also considerable differences in rates of drinking and problems within certain ethnic groups such as Hispanics, Asian Americans, and American Indians/Alaskan Natives. For instance, among Hispanics, Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans drink more and have higher rates of disorders such as alcohol abuse and dependence than Cuban Americans. Disparities also affect the trajectory of heavy drinking and the course of alcohol dependence among minorities. Theoretic accounts of these disparities generally attribute them to the historic experience of discrimination and to minority socioeconomic disadvantages at individual and environmental levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-648
Number of pages20
JournalHandbook of Clinical Neurology
StatePublished - 2014


  • Alcohol epidemiology
  • Ethnic minorities
  • Health disparity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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