Trends in Alcohol-Related Problems among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics: 1984-1995

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The objective of this study was to report trends in alcohol problems among whites, blacks, and Hispanics between 1984 and 1995. Data were obtained from two nationwide probability samples of U.S. households, the first conducted in 1984 and the second in 1995. The 1984 sample consisted of 1777 whites, 1947 blacks, and 1453 Hispanics. The 1995 sample included 1636 whites, 1582 blacks, and 1585 Hispanics. On both occasions, interviews (average length, 1 hr) were conducted in respondents' homes by trained interviewers. The results indicate that between 1984 and 1995, alcohol problems were stable among white and black men and increased among Hispanic men. The rates of three or more alcohol problems for men of each ethnic group for 1984 and 1995 were: 12% and 11% for white men, 16% and 13% for black men, and 9% and 16% for Hispanic men, respectively. Problem prevalence was stable and relatively low among women in all three ethnic groups. Overall, the prevalence of alcohol problems continues to be high among men in the United States. Even though recent research has shown that rates of frequent heavy drinking among white men have declined, we found no corresponding decrease in problem prevalence. Rates of frequent heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems between 1984 and 1995 have remained especially high among black and Hispanic men, suggesting that men of these two ethnic groups should be specifically targeted for renewed prevention efforts.

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