Trends in Alcohol Misuse Among Minority Adolescents

The objectives of this project were to examine the trends in alcohol misuse and other problem behaviors among ethnic minority secondary students over the decade spanning the mid 1980s to mid 1990s. Three large, comparable cross-sectional surveys of New York State school students were examined showing the patterns of alcohol use among Native American, West Indian, African American, Hispanic, and white adolescents. The findings showed that a downward trend in alcohol consumption in the 1980s stopped by mid-1990s. These trends were observed in all racial/ethnic groups. Furthermore, alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems actually increased among younger adolescents but not among older adolescents. Implications of this research are that alcohol prevention efforts should be targeted to younger adolescents since early initiation into drinking has been shown to predict the development of alcohol misuse in later adolescence and adulthood. Funded by a grant of $305,741 from NIAAA, 1997-2000.