In the U.S., alcohol is widely consumed by adults of both genders, as well as by people of all racial/ethnic backgrounds. However, there are notable variations in alcohol consumption between men and women, as well as between individuals with different racial/ethnic ancestries. In a study published in June 2014 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, the Alcohol Research Group used data from a project called the National Alcohol Survey to explore the gender-based and racial/ethnic-based differences in the chances of experiencing serious alcohol-related harm. The researchers concluded that gender and racial/ethnic heritage have a combined impact on the risks for exposure to this type of harm.
Alcohol And Gender Stats
According to figures compiled by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, roughly 56.5 percent of all teenage boys and men in the U.S. consume alcohol with some regularity. Roughly 47.9 percent of teenage girls and women are also regular alcohol consumers. Young adults of both genders between the ages of 18 and 25 drink more often than people in any other age range. Among men in this age group, drinking rates rise to about 62.9 percent; approximately 57.5 percent of women in this age group drink. Both men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 also have a marked tendency to participate in binge drinking, a dangerous pattern of intake distinguished by the rapid onset of legal drunkenness. Roughly 45.8 percent of men in this age group binge drink, as do roughly 33.2 percent of women.
Alcohol And Racial/Ethnic Background Stats
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also keeps track of the basic patterns of alcohol consumption among people of various racial/ethnic backgrounds. The most recent figures released by this agency indicate that Americans of European heritage consume alcohol more often than people in any other racial/ethnic group. In descending order, the next most frequent groups of drinkers are people with mixed racial/ethnic heritage, African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, American Indian/Alaska Natives and Asian Americans. American Indian/Alaska Natives have the highest rate of binge drinking, as well as the highest rate of heavy overall alcohol intake. Conversely, Asian Americans have the lowest rates for both binge drinking and heavy drinking.
Risks For Alcohol-Related Harm
In the study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, the Alcohol Research Group used data from two versions of the National Alcohol Survey, undertaken in 2005 and 2010, to make their estimates of the impact of gender and racial/ethnic background on the risks for alcohol-related harm. This survey, sponsored by an organization called ICF International, uses a nationwide phone survey conducted every five years to assemble a representative picture of the negative consequences associated with drinking, as well as a picture of a number of other alcohol-related factors. In addition to information on gender, the National Alcohol Survey focuses on the specific drinking-related trends among European Americans, African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos. All told, the researchers examined data provided by 7,249 people who drank at the time of their participation in the survey.
Types Of Alcohol-Related Harm
The researchers looked at forms of alcohol-related harm that included getting involved in alcohol-related accidents, otherwise experiencing alcohol-related injuries, experiencing work-related problems stemming from alcohol consumption, experiencing legal problems stemming from alcohol consumption and experiencing any other health-related or social problems associated with drinking. After completing their analysis, they concluded that gender and racial/ethnic background interact to produce unique profiles of alcohol-related risk.
Specifically, they found that African American and Hispanic/Latino men have significantly increased chances of experiencing alcohol-related accidents or injuries, as well as other negative social and physical problems stemming from drinking. In addition, men in these two racial/ethnic groups have somewhat increased chances of experiencing legal or work-related problems stemming from drinking. Among women, individuals with Hispanic/Latino ancestry have somewhat higher chances of experiencing alcohol-related social problems.
The study’s authors found that women of African American descent have increased odds of developing alcoholism when they drink at any level of excessive intake. They also found that men of Hispanic/Latino and African American descent have increased odds of developing alcoholism when they consume enough alcohol to fall into the lower range of heavy drinkers. In addition, they found that when patterns of alcohol intake are taken into consideration, only African American men and women have a heightened risk for alcohol-related harm when compared to their European American counterparts.