Newswise — Binge drinking tends to be lower among African Americans and Hispanics than non-Hispanic Whites.  However, among older adult populations, minority groups are at higher risk for binge drinking. This study examined whether there was a “crossover effect” – with risk increasing from low to high as a function of age and income among three U.S. populations.

Researchers analyzed data from the 2010-2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which collected annual, nationally representative data on substance-use behaviors among individuals 12 years of age and older. The sample (n=205,198; 106,517 females, 98,681 males) included Hispanic, non-Hispanic African American, and non-Hispanic White respondents.

Although African Americans are generally at lower risk for binge drinking than Whites, risk appeared to increase disproportionately in this group with age, but only among African Americans with annual incomes of less than $20,000. No crossover effect of age was found for Hispanic respondents or African Americans at higher income levels.  The authors suggest that prevention and intervention should be tailored to incorporate social factors affecting health such as lower education, violence exposure, and housing insecurity, which are posited to be mechanisms through which risk may operate for this at-risk population of adults.