Journal Article

    Does Learning About Race Prevent Substance Abuse? Racial Discrimination, Racial Socialization and Substance Use Among African Americans

    Addictive Behaviors

    Published: October 2016


    Presents a study assessing the relationship between number of settings in which racial discrimination is experienced, behaviors related to tobacco and alcohol use, and early racial socialization experiences. The authors hypothesized that the relationship is stronger among African Americans who experienced racial socialization at a low frequency and weaker among African Americans who experienced racial socialization at a high frequency. The Black LIFE (Linking Inequality, Feelings, and the Environment) Study took place in two predominantly Black neighborhoods in New York City. Participants completed a baseline, 2-month follow-up and 1-year follow-up computer-assisted face-to-face interview. The findings on the association between racial discrimination and weekend but not weekday alcohol use suggest that temporal patterns of alcohol consumption depend on employment status. Studies on motivation for weekday alcohol use find that use is associated with coping, usually with work related stress. Racial discrimination affects all Americans’ health and health behaviors. Experiencing—and even inflicting—a racial discriminatory act is a stressor that increases the risk of substance use.

    Addict Behav. 2016 Oct. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.04.010.