Statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism show 16.3 million adults (6.8%) had an alcohol abuse problem in 2014. Nearly a quarter (24.7%) of adults reported engaging in binge drinking in the past month. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol claimed the lives of 88,000 people each year from 2006-2010, for a total of 2.5 million years of potential life lost.
Methods for Researching Discrimination and Alcohol Habits
The study looked at previous research on alcohol and discrimination, providing a systematic review of research conducted between 1980 and 2015. Of 938 studies, 97 met all of the researchers’ inclusion criteria. The studies looked at an array of discrimination, including gender and sexual orientation and race/ethnic discrimination. The studies focused more frequently on racial discrimination, which accounted for 71 of the 96 included studies, though racial discrimination targeted at Native Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders received less attention.stress, and discrimination can cause severe stress.
Future Research Opportunities on Discrimination and Drinking
Although the studies establish a connection between drinking and discrimination, the study’s authors point out several possibilities for future research. Most of the current research focuses on interpersonal discrimination, such as racial slurs. The authors say other research could focus on systematic and structural discrimination, such as neighborhood segregation. They also hope to see further analysis of which groups are most vulnerable to discrimination-related drinking.
The researchers also hope future studies will explore the types of drinking to which discrimination is correlated. For example, does discrimination merely increase drinking, or does it increase the risk of alcoholism?
- Alcohol facts and statistics. (2016, January). Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
- Does discrimination increase drinking? (2016, June 30). Retrieved from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uoi-ddi063016.php
- Fact sheets: Alcohol use and your health. (2016, June 29). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm
- Gilbert, P. A., & Zemore, S. E. (2016). Discrimination and drinking: A systematic review of the evidence. Social Science & Medicine, 161, 178-194. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.06.009
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