Alcohol poses a substantial public health burden on Blacks in the United States. The purpose of the proposed study is to contribute to current knowledge on alcohol misuse by Blacks by investigating two dimensions of a phenomenon called problem drinking. These dimensions are: (1) the level of alcohol use; and (2) the presence of alcohol-related social problems. Using a within-group design, this study will employ life course development theory as a framework to conceptualize the trajectories of both dimensions of problem drinking. The relationship between each dimension and several explanatory variables will also be tested. The explanatory variables include person and environmental factors such as sex, parent/family controls, perceived friend norms and values, and religious controls.
The aims of the study will be: (1) to examine whether there are individual differences in the level of alcohol use and the presence of alcohol-related social problems among Blacks from adolescence through young adulthood; (2) to examine the relationship between the level of alcohol use and alcohol-related social problems; and (3) to examine person and environmental factors that predict the course of individual trajectories of alcohol use and the presence of alcohol-related social problems among young Blacks.
These aims will be addressed by conducting a secondary analysis of four waves of longitudinal data through the use of latent curve analysis. The dataset for this study has an N=1392 Black respondents. At the first wave of data collection, the respondents were middle school-aged adolescents. At the final wave, nine years later, they were young adults. Since Blacks are currently the largest minority group in the U.S., it is expected that obtaining a better understanding of the development of problem drinking will lead to more efficacious interventions to prevent or reduce the behavior. In turn, these interventions will have a substantial public health impact on Blacks in this country. ? ?