Alcohol-related behaviors are often examined using surveys assessing participants’ self-report of attitudes/actions. However, racial/ethnic differences exist in scale construction and evaluation, and surveys evaluating alcohol behaviors lack invariance across ethnic groups. These dissimilarities may be due to deep-rooted differences in ethnic classification of unhealthy substance use behaviors.
We examined factor structure of “Number of days per month drank alcohol in past 12 months,” “Number of days had one or more drinks in past 30 days,” and “Number of days had four/five or more drinks in past 30 days,” administered during the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Factorial invariance was examined across 12- to 17-year-old White, Black/African American, Asian American, and Hispanic/Latinx boys and girls endorsing alcohol use. A multigroup confirmatory factor analysis statistically determined whether the factor structure was invariant across groups.
The alcohol scale lacked invariance across all groups, indicating racial/ethnic group identification is related to alcohol-related cognitions.
Psychometric properties of scales assessing alcohol-related behaviors generalized across racial/ethnic groups require evaluation.