Minorities More Likely to Receive Alcohol Counseling

Armen Hareyan's picture
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A study has found that African-American and Hispanic adults have twice the odds of reporting receiving counseling about alcohol use from a physician, compared with white adults. What causes this disparity in counseling is not known, but this may be a rare instance of minority populations receiving better and more appropriate health care than the majority.

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However, the finding may also mean that physicians are more likely to assume that African-Americans and Hispanics have alcohol issues. "Yet blacks are less likely to be binge drinkers than whites," said study author Kenneth Mukamal, M.D., an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

The study evaluated data from an extensive national telephone survey performed in 1999. More than 15,000 people took part in the survey. Participants were asked about their alcohol use, among other topics, and about what preventive counseling services they received.

Compared with non-Hispanic whites, the odds of being counseled about alcohol use were 1.83 for non-Hispanic blacks and 2.17 for Hispanics

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