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Monday, January 14, 2013

Driving After Drinking Among Young Adults of Different Race/Ethnicities in the United States: Unique Risk Factors in Early Adolescence?

National guidelines for alcohol screening and brief interventions advise practitioners to consider age, drinking frequency, and context to identify at-risk youth. The purpose of this study was to identify the contextual risk and protective factors in high school-aged adolescents associated with future driving after drinking (Drinking Under the Influence [DUI] at age 21) by race/ethnicity.

Data included 10,271 adolescents (67% white, 12% Hispanic, 16% black, 3.6% Asian; 49% Male) who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Waves I, II, and III) from 1995 to 2001. A lagged panel design and survey logistic regression was used to examine the association between multiple contextual factors (e.g., demographics, parents, peers, social context) during adolescence and self-reported DUI in young adulthood.

As expected, the likelihood of DUI was higher among whites followed by Hispanics, Asians, and blacks in all models. Perception of easy home access to alcohol increased risk for future DUI for whites (OR: 1.25 CI: 1.04–1.49), Hispanics (OR: 2.02 CI: 1.29–3.16), and Asians (OR: 1.90 CI: 1.13–3.22), but not for black youth. Drinking frequency and prior DUI were not risk factors for Hispanics. Risk-taking attitudes, marijuana use, and religious affiliation were risk factors for whites only.

Findings suggest that in addition to screening for drinking behaviors, brief interventions and prevention efforts should assess perceived home access to alcohol and other race-specific factors to reduce alcohol-related injuries and harm.

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