Racial discrimination and alcohol use and negative drinking consequences among Black Americans: a meta-analytical review

Jessica M. Desalu, Patricia A. Goodhines, Aesoon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Findings of the association between racial discrimination and alcohol use and related consequences are inconsistent, and the role of potential moderators in the association is largely unknown. This meta-analysis aimed to synthesize the discrimination–alcohol literature among Black Americans, estimate the magnitude of associations and explore differences as a function of sample characteristics. Methods: Empirical studies reporting the association of racial discrimination with alcohol-related behaviors in an all-black sample were identified via systematic literature search. A random-effects meta-analysis was conducted using 33 effect sizes extracted from 27 studies, all of which used US samples (n = 26 894). Results: Significant positive associations were found for racial discrimination with alcohol consumption [k = 9, confidence interval (CI) = 0.08, 0.17, I 2  = 49%, r = 0.12], heavy/binge drinking (k = 12, CI = 0.02, 0.10), I 2  = 27%, r = 0.06), at-risk drinking (k = 4, CI = 0.06, 0.23, I 2  = 0%, r = 0.14) and negative drinking consequences (k = 5, CI = 0.09, 0.25, I 2  = 94%, r = 0.25), but not with alcohol use disorder (k = 3, CI = −0.01, 0.20, I 2  = 90%, r = 0.10). Only alcohol consumption and negative drinking consequences showed significant between-study heterogeneity and had a sufficient quantity of studies for moderation analysis (i.e., 4 or more studies). The positive association of racial discrimination with negative drinking consequences was stronger among younger samples; the association with alcohol consumption did not differ by age or proportion of men. Conclusions: Experiences of racial discrimination are associated with diverse alcohol-related behaviors among Black Americans, with a stronger association with problematic alcohol use, particularly among younger individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-967
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Alcohol screeners
  • alcohol use
  • alcohol use disorder
  • black American
  • negative drinking consequences
  • racial discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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