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Mailman School of Public Health study examines link between racial discrimination and substance use
Date:8/20/2007

hose who reported experiencing less or no discrimination, said Dr. Borrell. Possibly, African Americans with a higher socioeconomic position report more discrimination because they are more exposed to situations in which they are discriminated, or they may be more aware of subtle forms of discrimination, noted Dr. Borrell.

According to the findings, in contrast, Whites with a low socioeconomic position may be more likely to be exposed to environments in which they are the minority and, therefore, be more likely to feel discriminated.

Among the strengths of the study are its population-based nature, the focus on young to middle-aged adults, the wide ranges of educational attainment and income, the information on illicit substance use, and socioeconomic position indicators. It is possible that use of a recreational drug helps to cope with life stress resulting from perceived unfair treatment because of ones race/ethnicity, observed Dr. Borrell. Our findings that current use of marijuana was not related to discrimination and that risk of being a former smoker was increased suggest that, by early middle age (average age, 40 years), people may have found other ways to cope. However, the finding of an excess of current smoking in this population, suggest that this addictive habit may be long lasting, even when alternative coping behaviors are adopted.

Source of the data was the CARDIA study, a prospective study of cardiovascular risk among young adults. 3,330 persons aged 1830 years examined at baseline (1985-1986) and re-examined again seven (1992-1993) and 15 years (2000-2001) later in the (CARDIA) Study were included in this study.


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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-5635
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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