Alcohol use by young people from different ethnic groups: Consumption, intoxication and negative consequences

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Objective. To investigate alcohol consumption among mid-adolescents from different ethnic groups and explore overall and gender variations in drinking behaviours. Methods. A survey of alcohol use by 609 14-16 year olds recruited from three schools in an ethnically diverse area of London. Approximately 70% of the sample was of White English, White Irish, Black Caribbean or Black African ethnic origin. Self-report information was collected via a researcher-administered structured interview. Results. There was a significantly lower prevalence of lifetime alcohol use among Black African respondents than among the other three ethnic groups. Black African males and males and females from the two White ethnic groups reported drinking above levels recommended by the English Department of Health. Among the recent drinkers, over half of the White Irish and White English groups and over a quarter of Black Caribbean and Black African groups had been intoxicated in the 90 days before interview. Approximately three quarters of the White English and White Irish recent drinkers, but only a half of Black Caribbean and Black African recent drinkers had experienced a negative drinking-related consequence during the last year. Conclusions. The survey findings suggest that while young people of White English or White Irish ethnic origin from the populations studied are more likely to drink excessively and experience negative consequences from their drinking than Black African and Black Caribbean youth, a substantial minority of Black African and Black Caribbean youth also experience alcohol-related problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171 - 187
Number of pages17
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


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