Study objective: To examine history of alcohol abuse/dependence disorder in relation to unfair treatment, racial/ethnic discrimination, and ethnic identification among Asian Americans.
Design: Weighted multivariate analyses of cross-sectional national survey data predicting lifetime history of alcohol abuse/dependence disorders.
Setting: USA, Asian Americans.
Participants: 2007 Asian American adults recruited to the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS; 2002–2003).
Results: Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, Asian Americans who reported experiencing unfair treatment had higher odds of history of alcohol abuse/dependence disorder (OR 5.26, 95% CI 1.90 to 14.56). Participants who reported high levels of ethnic identification had lower odds of history of alcohol abuse/dependence disorders (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.90). Ethnic identification moderated the influence of racial/ethnic discrimination (p = 0.097). Among participants with low levels of ethnic identification, racial/ethnic discrimination was associated with greater odds of having a history of alcohol disorder compared with those with high levels of ethnic identification.
Conclusions: Social hazards such as unfair treatment and racial/ethnic discrimination should be considered in the development of programmes addressing alcohol disorders among Asian Americans. Interventions that promote ethnic identification in this population may be particularly relevant in mitigating the negative influence of racial/ethnic discrimination on alcohol disorders.
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The National Latino and Asian American Study is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; grant U01 MH062209 for M Alegría, PI, and U01 MH 62207 for DTT, PI) with supplemental support from the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency, and the Latino Research Program Project P01 MH059876. DHC was also supported by the W.K. Kellogg Doctoral Fellowship in Health Policy.
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval was obtained by the institutional review boards and human subjects committees of the University of Washington, University of Michigan, Cambridge Health Alliance, and the Harvard School of Public Health.