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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Neighborhood context and substance use disorders: A comparative analysis of racial and ethnic groups in the United States

There is evidence that ethnic/racial minorities are conferred differential risk for substance use problems based on where they live. Despite a burgeoning of research focusing on the role of neighborhood characteristics on health, limited findings are available on substance use. Our study uses nationally representative data (N = 13,837) to examine: (1) what neighborhood characteristics are associated with risk of substance use disorders?; (2) do the associations between neighborhood characteristics and substance use disorders remain after adjusting for individual-level factors?; and (3) do neighborhood characteristics associated with substance use disorders differ by race/ethnicity after adjusting for individual-level factors?

Data were drawn from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Studies (CPES-Geocode file) with 836 census tracts. Analyses included African Americans, Asians, Caribbean Blacks, Latinos, and non-Latino whites. Separate logistic regression models were fitted for any past-year substance use disorder, alcohol use disorder, and drug use disorder.

Living in more affluent and residentially unstable census tracts was associated with decreased risk of past-year substance use disorder, even after adjusting for individual-level factors. However, when we investigated the interaction of race/ethnicity and census latent factors with past-year substance use disorders, we found different associations for the different racial/ethnic groups. We also found different associations between neighborhood affluence, residential instability and any past-year substance use and alcohol disorders by nativity.

Characteristics of the environment might represent differential risk for substance disorders depending on a person's ethnicity/race and nativity status.

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