The gender gap in alcohol use and problem drinking is closing. The development of effective prevention programs for young women requires an in-depth understanding of the environmental conditions that protect against or elevate liability to risky drinking and the differences between racial/ethnic groups in the relative influences of those factors. This secondary data analysis project builds on the documented differences between African-American (AA) and White young women in the prevalence of alcohol use, alcohol use disorders (AUDs), and risk factors associated with AUDs to examine possible distinctions in transitions through drinking course, with the goal of refining models of alcohol use and misuse in AA girls and young women. The underrepresentation of AA females in large-scale alcohol studies has made investigations of the fine-grain alcohol phenotypes that capture the dynamic nature of alcohol use (e.g., rate of progression from first drink to problem drinking) very challenging. The proposed early stage investigator R01 addresses this gap in alcohol research by analyzing data from three large-scale studies of alcohol use and related psychopathology in young AA and White women (twin, high-risk family and urban adolescent/young adult samples, total n=6,705, 33% AA), each of which collected detailed alcohol use history and information on psychiatric and psychosocial conditions in multiple waves of data collection. The project focuses in particular on the role of two early environmental factors that differ by race: childhood trauma, a potent risk factor for a range of psychiatric conditions, and parental monitoring, an important target of study because of its modifiability. The timing of marijuana use initiation is also examined as a possible modifier of drinking course because of the elevated prevalence of use and initiation of use before alcohol in AA young women. The proposed project is designed to (1) identify distinctions between AA and White young women in the timing of transitions between stages of alcohol use and of initiation of alcohol relative to marijuana use; (2) examine differences by race in factors that contribute to early trauma and parental monitoring as well as the subsequent influence of these early environmental factors on alcohol outcomes; and (3) explore sources of variability in the contribution of early trauma and parental monitoring to the progression of alcohol use (e.g., interaction of early trauma with genetic liability to AUDs). Findings will lead to improvements in assessment of risk and protective factors for early and problem drinking in AA and White young women and guide culturally appropriate prevention efforts.

Public Health Relevance

Reducing harms associated with early and heavy alcohol use in young women requires insight into the risk and protective factors most salient to problem drinking in females, including how their contributions may change over the course of alcohol use. Identifying differences by race/ethnicity in the rate of progression of alcohol involvement and the relevance of various influences at different stages of use will further this goal by facilitating the development of culturally appropriate interventions for adolescent girls and young women.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Application #
Study Section
Risk, Prevention and Intervention for Addictions Study Section (RPIA)
Program Officer
Scott, Marcia S
Project Start
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Budget End
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Yale University
Schools of Medicine
New Haven
United States
Zip Code
Latendresse, Shawn J; Ye, Feifei; Chung, Tammy et al. (2017) Parental Monitoring and Alcohol Use Across Adolescence in Black and White Girls: A Cross-Lagged Panel Mixture Model. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 41:1144-1153
Sartor, Carolyn E; Ecker, Anthony H; Kraus, Shane W et al. (2017) Perceived safety and controllability of events: Markers of risk for marijuana use in young adults? Addict Behav 66:114-117
Sartor, Carolyn E; Grant, Julia D; Few, Lauren R et al. (2017) Childhood Trauma and Two Stages of Alcohol Use in African American and European American Women: Findings from a Female Twin Sample. Prev Sci :
Ziobrowski, Hannah; Sartor, Carolyn E; Tsai, Jack et al. (2017) Gender differences in mental and physical health conditions in U.S. veterans: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. J Psychosom Res 101:110-113
Sartor, Carolyn E; Bachrach, Rachel L; Stepp, Stephanie D et al. (2017) The relationship between childhood trauma and alcohol use initiation in Black and White adolescent girls: considering socioeconomic status and neighborhood factors. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol :
Foster, Dawn W; Ye, Feifei; Chung, Tammy et al. (2017) Longitudinal Associations Between Marijuana-Related Cognitions and Marijuana Use in African-American and European-American Girls From Early to Late Adolescence. Psychol Addict Behav :
Arshanapally, Suraj; Werner, Kimberly B; Sartor, Carolyn E et al. (2017) The Association between Racial Discrimination and Suicidality among African American Adolescents and Young Adults. Arch Suicide Res :
Sadler, Brooke E; Grant, Julia D; Duncan, Alexis E et al. (2017) The Influence of Paternal Separation, Paternal History of Alcohol Use Disorder Risk, and Early Substance Use on Offspring Educational Attainment by Young Adulthood. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 78:426-434
Grant, Julia D; Agrawal, Arpana; Werner, Kimberly B et al. (2017) Phenotypic and familial associations between childhood maltreatment and cannabis initiation and problems in young adult European-American and African-American women. Drug Alcohol Depend 179:146-152
Sartor, Carolyn E; O'Malley, Stephanie S (2016) Brief Report: A web-based pilot study of childhood sexual abuse, recent stressful events, and alcohol use in women. Am J Addict 25:184-7

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