The Impact of Racial Discrimination on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

According to a new scholarly study, African Americans who believe they have been confronted by racial discrimination are more likely to abuse alcohol and illegal drugs. And the study showed that the perception of unfair treatment can lead to long-term substance abuse problems.

The study was coauthored by Haslyn E.R. Hunte an assistant professor of health and kinesiology at Purdue University and Adam Barry, an assistant professor of health education at the University of Florida. The article appears in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health and can be accessed here.

Dr. Hunte says, “It’s no surprise that people who believe they receive frequent unfair treatment from strangers feel enough emotional pain that leads them to self-coping behaviors such as alcohol and drug use, but this study shows that there is significant relationship between this poor treatment and chronic substance abuse. Based on this study, clinicians treating people for substance abuse should be more attuned to how discrimination plays a role in their clients’ health, just as the loss of a loved one or losing a job.”

Dr. Hunte is a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania. He holds a master’s degree and a master of public health degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Related Articles

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, that conclusion makes sense, and clinicians should include: “Have you ever experienced some form of discrimination…” on their in-take forms. Discrimination is such an overlooked area. People are judged by their ethnicity. When someone is called the “N” word, that’s enough to lead them to abusing themselves through substances to escape the insults. Rappers don’t help with the “N” word either!!!

  2. I wonder how this research operationalizes/instantiates the experience of racialized discrimination at the micro-sociological level for persons who are generally unconscious of its objective structural reality for them as individuals? Are there any possible interaction effects between this independent variable and other independent variables that could strengthen the causal correlation?

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Johns Hopkins University Launches New Major and Center for Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism

The new Chloe Center for the Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism will provide research opportunities and educational events for the Johns Hopkins University community. As part of the new program, the university has announced a new undergraduate major in critical diaspora studies.

Chicago Library Receives $2 Million to Digitize Collection of African American History and Literature

The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection housed within the Chicago Public Library will soon be available online to the public thanks to a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Online Articles That May Be of Interest to JBHE Readers

Each week, JBHE will provide links to online articles that may be of interest to our readers. Here are this week’s selections.

Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. The books included are on a wide variety of subjects and present many different points of view.

Featured Jobs