Unkindness linked to alcohol, drug abuse in black populations, study finds

by Amy Patterson Neubert
Haslyn E.R. Hunte

(Medical Xpress)—Blacks who feel mistreated and discriminated against are more likely to abuse alcohol and illegal drugs, and a new study from Purdue University shows this usage can become a problematic pattern.

"It's no surprise that people who believe they receive frequent unfair treatment from strangers feel enough that leads them to self-coping behaviors such as alcohol and drug use, but this study shows that there is significant between this poor treatment and chronic substance abuse," says Haslyn E.R. Hunte, an assistant professor of health and who studies and discrimination. "There is a connection here, and while more work is needed to understand the cause and effect, especially if a substance abuse problem could be one of the reasons people are treated unfairly, people need to realize how they treat others can affect them deeply.

"Based on this study, clinicians treating people for should be more attuned to how discrimination plays a role in their clients' health, just as the loss of a loved one or ."

In this study, discrimination was defined as individual experiences of , such as being treated with less respect or courtesy than others. Such discrimination can be directed at those people who are obese or who smoke, or because of one's age, gender or race.

"It's small behaviors leading to big problems," Hunte says. "Treating someone poorly for how they look or are different from others can lead to clinical dependencies that are costly and even dangerous to society. For example, a person with a dependency is more likely to drive under the influence."

In this study, 90 percent reported everyday discrimination and 62 percent reported major discrimination, which would include feeling discriminated against during specific major life events such as in hiring or loan application processes. Those who reported the highest levels of discrimination were more likely to report an alcohol or drug-use disorder. Other studies have reported discrimination and its relationship to infrequent drug and alcohol use, but this study focuses on problematic usage patterns.

The findings, which were co-authored by Adam Barry, an assistant professor of health education at the University of Florida at Gainesville, is currently available online and will be published in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The analysis was based on the 2001 National Study of American Life, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. It includes survey and interview results from 3,570 African-Americans and more than 1,400 black Carribeans. The researchers also controlled for more traditional stressors such as grief and financial issues.

This population is of concern because blacks report higher levels of discrimination and tend to live in communities where there are more promotions, such as billboards and signs, advertising alcoholic beverages, says Hunte, who also is a member of Purdue's Center for Poverty and Health Inequality. He will be collaborating with other researchers on how perceptions of are shaped by individuals' personalities and coping.

More information: "Perceived Discrimination and DSM-IV-Based Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use Disorders" by Haslyn E.R. Hunte and Adam E. Barry, American Journal of Public Health.

Abstract:
Objectives: We examined the relationship between everyday and major discrimination and alcohol and drug use disorders in a nationally representative sample of African-Americans and Black Carribeans.
Methods: With data from the National Survey of American Life Study, we employed multivariate logistic regression analyses - while controlling for potential confounders - to examine the relationship between everyday and major discrimination and substance use disorders on the basis of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria.
Results: Every 1 unit increase in the everyday discrimination scale positively predicted alcohol (odds ratio {OR} = 1.02; P <.01) and drug use (PR = 1.02; P <.05) disorders. Similarly, each additional major discrimination event positively predicted alcohol (OR = 1.10; P <.05) and drug use (OR = 1.15; P <.05) disorders.
Conclusions: To our knowledge, this study is the first to examine problematic usage patterns rather than infrequent use of alcohol and drugs in a national sample of African-American and Black Caribbean adults and the first to examine this particular relationship in a national sample of Black Carribeans.

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freethinking
1.8 / 5 (9) Nov 15, 2012
People with Black skin in the USA are told by Progressives that they are discriminated against, and hated by White skinned people. They are told that the world is against them, and that they are FAILURES because white skinned people put them down.

The TRUTH IS, most White Skinned people now careless the color of their skin, but care about their character.

However a majority of Black Skinned people have baught into the lie of progressives, and now they themsevles are the most racist group in the USA.
Mauricio
2.6 / 5 (8) Nov 15, 2012
obviously free"thinking" is an old white male lol....

I was denied to graduate in many universities mr. freethinking, because they did not want to give a phd to a descendent of slaves because no matter what my scores were, I was less intelligent.

Oh, what schools? Columbia University, University of Texas at Houston, etc. And my GRE scores were very high....

So what was mr freethinking? My life was not real? I did not try enough universities?

Wonder what are the chances of finding a racist white professor in a university environment? VERY VERY HIGH is my experience. But wait, I might be retarded...

And I can't imagine the lives of uneducated unattractive, poor black males, I just don't want to do that exercise.

I wish we were face to face mr freethinking....
bertibus
2 / 5 (5) Nov 15, 2012
@Mauricio: When did the events that you described occur? Things have changed dramatically in the past forty or so years. Secondly; why would the article headline mention the color of someone's skin? I would have thought that getting a 'bum deal', or the feeling that it was so, would not be limited to people of a certain skin color.
Surly
2 / 5 (4) Nov 15, 2012
The study probably limited itself to members of one ethnic group (and looked at US and Caribbean populations separately) to control for cultural differences in behavior.

The headline probably mentioned it to get more views. An obvious finding like "drug addicts tend to be unpleasant people" won't get many views by itself, but add race or gender to the headline and people will flock to it.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (5) Nov 15, 2012
USA is nation built on slavery. xtian slavemaster hopefuls such as freetard wish to quash the reformation and bring back the catholic theocracy to institutionalize his freedom at the expense of all others.
crass
not rated yet Nov 16, 2012
You dont have to be of foreign extraction or fat to be abused. You can just be born looking different. I am one of those people and believe me its not that I have been repeatedly told and therefore lead to believe that society is getting at me. No, its usually that I have to tell and convince society that society is getting at me and reducing my chances. I dont get accepted at job interviews - no matter what the qualification I hold and even am asked odd questions by the interviewer "you do know you will have to work with others" or "bunch of backstabbing bastards round here" or "we cant employ someone who looks like you". I got a degree at the university. For three years at the uni it was a personal struggle. I summed it down to this - I am intelligent thats why I am doing a degree, but why is he here when he is not intelligent. Does not that mean to say I am not intelligent? No that cant be it. In other words for three years I was under pressure to leave. And the lecturers??
freethinking
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 16, 2012
Mauricio, you want to meet me face to face why? To beat me because of my race? Very typical for a Black progressive. I judge people based on their character not on their skin color.

BTW, I have been discriminated against. My life would have been easier if I was of a different color. And yes Mr. Mauricio I believe your hate is real, but I don'te believe your life as described is real.

Also, I know and have been mentored by a man of Black skin color and he gets very angry when anyone calls him African American. He is American FIRST. But since he is a Conservative Black Skinned man, you probably hate him as well. Hate and blame is what progressives live for.
Egleton
2 / 5 (4) Nov 18, 2012
I get discriminated against for being incredibly good looking.