Racial Differences in Patterns of Adolescent Alcohol Use and Associations with Adolescent and Adult Illicit Drug Use in the United States: A Latent Class Analysis

Maria R. Khan, University of Maryland
Charles M. Cleland, National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI)
Amanda T. Berger, University of Maryland

Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we conducted latent class analyses of adolescent alcohol use by race and estimated associations between latent class membership and adolescent (Wave I) and adulthood (Wave III) illicit drug use. Alcohol use was higher among whites than blacks. Analyses yielded a four class solution among whites [abstainers (male: 49%, female: 49%); experimenters (male: 16%, female: 19%); moderate drinkers (male: 18%, female: 22%); problem drinkers, who reported high alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences (male: 16%, female: 10%)] versus a three class solution among blacks [abstainers (male: 64%, female: 63%); experimenters (male: 20%, female: 24%); problem drinkers (male: 17%, female: 12%)]. In analyses adjusting for socio-demographic factors and past drug use, white and black experimenters and, to a greater extent, moderate/problem drinkers reported more adolescent and adult drug use. Race-specific typologies must be considered when addressing adolescent alcohol use and when planning drug prevention programs.

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Presented in Session 42: Adolescents, Young Adults, and Mental Health