African-American Women's Health and Social Issues

By Catherine Fisher Collins | Go to book overview

6
Alcohol Abuse and Stress Among African-American Women

Jacqueline D. Skillern Jackson

Straussner ( 1985), in her review of literature, found a history of references to alcohol abuse among African-American women covering an extensive span of time, if not in great quantity. She stated that Jellinek, as early as 1942, noted that the mortality rate of alcoholism among African-Americans was higher than whites and attributed the overall elevated rate among African-Americans to exceptionally high rates among African-American women. A 1965 New York City household survey showed a ratio of 1.9 to 1 African-American alcoholic males to females compared to 6.2 to 1 for white alcoholic males to females ( Bailey et al., 1965). Cahalan and Cisin ( 1968), in a national random sample, found that while there were more African-American women who abstained from drinking (51%) compared to white women who abstained (39%), among those who did drink, there was a higher proportion of heavy drinkers (38%) as compared to white women (11%). Other studies done in the 1960s and 1970s continued to support the finding that there was a high prevalence of heavy drinking among African-American women ( Caetano, 1984; Cahalan et al., 1974; and Bailey et al., 1965). Lillie-Blanton et al. ( 1991) found racial differences in their research examining characteristics of nondrinkers and heavy drinkers in Baltimore. They found that African-American women between the ages of 18 and 24, or older than 60, or who were married

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