Objective: To examine the association of perceived racial/ethnic discrimination with smoking and alcohol consumption in adults participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Methods: Data on 6680 black, Chinese, Hispanic and white adults aged 45 to 84 years of age recruited from Illinois, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Minnesota and California during 2000 and 2002 were used for this analysis. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association of perceived racial/ethnic discrimination with smoking status and alcohol consumption for each racial/ethnic group separately. Results: Blacks were more likely to experience racial/ethnic discrimination (43%) than Hispanics (19%), Chinese participants (10%) or whites (4%, P< 0.0001). In the fully-adjusted model, blacks reporting racial/ethnic discrimination had 34% and 51% greater odds of reporting smoking and drinking, respectively, than blacks who did not report racial/ethnic discrimination. Hispanics reporting racial/ethnic discrimination had 62% greater odds of heavy drinking. Whites reporting racial/ethnic discrimination had 88% greater odds of reporting being current smokers than whites who did not report racial/ethnic discrimination. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the experience of discrimination is associated with greater prevalence of unhealthy behaviors. Specifically, the use of smoking and alcohol may be patterned by experience of discrimination.
- Racial/ethnic discrimination