Herd, Denise; and Grube, Joel Addiction
, vol. 88, issue 8, pgs. 1101-1110 (1993)This study explored whether black and white women differ in how often they drink in particular types of social settings and if drinking in different contexts independently predicts alcohol-related problems. The analysis was based on the interview responses of 635 black and 663 white women drinkers who represent sub-samples from a nationwide survey of 5221 respondents conducted in 1984. The findings revealed that white women are more likely to attend restaurants, bars and parties away from home than black women and that a larger proportion of their alcohol consumption occurs in these settings than among black women. Factor analysis was used to develop scales on the frequency of drinking in different social contexts. The results confirmed a three-dimensional factor structure that distinguished between drinking at home; drinking in social settings such as bars, restaurants and parties; and drinking in outdoor public areas like streetcorners and parks. A simultaneous equations path analysis was used to model the relationships among drinking contexts, the frequency of heavier drinking, drinking problems, race and other social characteristics. The major findings of the resulting models were that drinking contexts independently predict drinking problems and that race is not directly associated with drinking contexts or alcohol-related problems. However racial differences do exert significant indirect effects on social settings and drinking problems through differences in socio-economic status and normative attitudes. The conclusion emphasizes the complexity of the interrelationships of ethnic and social characteristics that underlie visible racial differences in the social patterns and situational contexts of alcohol use.