Alcohol use is an important area of health disparities among Black individuals in the United States (US). The identification of psycho-sociocultural factors that play a role in alcohol-related problems among this population can inform culturally sensitive prevention and treatment efforts. Psycho-sociocultural models of alcohol misuse posit that some Black Americans may drink (and continue to drink despite drinking-related problems) to alleviate negative affect associated with experiencing race-based discrimination. Although there is a strong link between overt race-based discrimination and drinking outcomes, little research has tested whether more common, everyday race-based discrimination (microaggressions) is related and whether this association is attributable, in part, to drinking to cope with negative affect.
Participants were 365 Black undergraduate current individuals who use alcohol who completed an online survey.
Microaggressions were significantly, positively correlated with alcohol-related problems, even after controlling for drinking, overt discrimination, non-racist life stressors, and relevant demographic variables. Microaggressions were indirectly related to alcohol-related problems via drinking to cope with negative affect (depression, anxiety).
Microaggressions are robustly associated with alcohol-related problems even after accounting for variance attributable to more overt discrimination and non-racist stressors among Black adults. Consistent with minority stress models, this relation may be due in part to drinking to cope with negative affect (depression, anxiety).