Blacks, Hispanics More Likely Than Whites to Receive Alcohol Abuse Counseling, Study Finds
Black and Hispanic adults are twice as likely as white adults to receive counseling for alcohol abuse from their doctor, according a report published in the March issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, United Press International reports (United Press International, 2/22). For the report, lead researcher Kenneth Mukamal, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and colleagues analyzed data from a 1999 national telephone survey of more than 15,000 U.S. residents. Respondents were asked about their alcohol use and what preventive counseling services they received. The probability of blacks receiving counseling was 1.83 and for Hispanics, it was 2.17 -- about twofold higher than the probability of whites -- according to the report (DeBenedette, Health Behavior News Service, 2/22). Researchers said the findings indicate that minority patients might be receiving better and more appropriate health care than whites but also that physicians are more likely to suspect alcohol abuse in minorities than in whites (UPI, 2/22). However, "blacks are less likely to be binge drinkers than whites," Mukamal said. The findings also could indicate that alcohol abuse is being over-reported among minorities and under-reported among whites, which likely "will lead to perpetuation of stereotypes," Mukamal added (Health Behavior News Service, 2/22).
An abstract of the study is available online.