The purpose of this study was to examine associations with high-intensity drinking (HID) in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations and compare them to White and other minority groups using four National Alcohol Surveys, 2000 to 2015 (total N = 29,571; AI/ANs = 434).
Current drinking and HID (8+ and 12+ drinks on any day) from maximum drinks in the prior 12 months were analyzed with independent variables and race/ethnicity (AI/AN, non-Hispanic White, and other racial/ethnic groups combined). Adjusted logistic regression models comprised gender, age, marital status, employment, education, survey year, rurality, and especially, childhood trauma (physical/sexual abuse), and biological family alcohol problem history (each dichotomous).
In adjusted population models, Whites had twice the odds of current drinking as AI/ANs, with no difference between other racial/ethnic groups and AI/ANs. Descriptively, AI/AN drinkers consumed at higher intensity levels than other groups, with higher prevalence of childhood trauma and family problem drinking than others. However, on a population basis, adjusting for all factors, apparent differences between AI/AN and White HID were eliminated; other minority groups together, compared with AI/ANs, showed lower odds of consuming 8+ drinks.
AI/ANs had a higher prevalence of childhood trauma and family alcohol problems as well as lower current drinking likelihood compared with Whites. In adjusted population models, the combined other minorities group was less likely to ever consume 8+ drinks than AI/ANs. In all populations, childhood trauma and family alcohol problems increased the risk of HID, strongly so in AI/ANs. Addressing childhood trauma and family problems is important among AI/ANs to break generational cycles of drinking extreme amounts per occasion.