Differences in Acute Response to Alcohol Between African Americans and European Americans
Article first published online: 7 FEB 2013
Copyright © 2013 by the Research Society on Alcoholism
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 37, Issue 6, pages 1056–1063, June 2013
How to Cite
Pedersen, S. L. and McCarthy, D. M. (2013), Differences in Acute Response to Alcohol Between African Americans and European Americans. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37: 1056–1063. doi: 10.1111/acer.12068
- Issue published online: 28 MAY 2013
- Article first published online: 7 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 8 JUN 2012
- National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Grant Numbers: R21 AA015218, T32 AA13526, F31 AA017571, T32 AA007435.
- Response to Alcohol;
- African American;
- Racial Differences;
- Alcohol Administration
Response to alcohol is a widely studied risk factor and potential endophenotype for alcohol use disorders. Research on African American response to alcohol has been limited despite large differences in alcohol use between African Americans and European Americans. Extending our previous work on the African American portion of this sample, the current study examined differences in acute subjective response to alcohol between African Americans and European Americans. Additionally, we tested whether the association between response to alcohol and past month drinking behavior and alcohol-related problems differed across race.
One hundred and seventy-eight participants (mean age = 21.87, SD = 1.23; 57% African American) who were moderate to heavy social drinkers completed an alcohol administration study in a laboratory setting, receiving a moderate dose of alcohol (0.72 g/kg alcohol for men, 0.65 g/kg for women). Acute alcohol response was measured at 8 time points (i.e., baseline, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 150 minutes).
Latent growth curve models showed that African Americans experienced sharper increases in stimulation on the ascending limb compared to European Americans. African American women experienced sharper increases in sedation on the ascending limb compared to European American women. Change in sedation on the ascending limb was associated with past month drinking behavior. Stimulation on the ascending limb was related to alcohol problems for African Americans but not European Americans.
We found differences in response to alcohol across racial groups: African Americans showed a stronger response to alcohol. Future studies are needed to incorporate response to alcohol into a larger model of African American alcohol use.