Black-White differences in the relationship between alcohol drinking patterns and mortality among US men and women

Am J Public Health. 2015 Jul;105 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):S534-43. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302615. Epub 2015 Apr 23.


Objectives: We investigated Black-White differences in the association between average alcohol drinking patterns and all-cause mortality.

Methods: We pooled nationally representative samples of 152 180 adults in the National Health Interview Survey from 1997 to 2002 with mortality follow-up through 2006. Usual drinking days per week and level of alcohol consumed per day were based on self-report. We used race- and gender-specific Cox proportional hazards regression analyses to adjust for physical activity, smoking status, and other potential confounders.

Results: Over 9 years, 13 366 deaths occurred from all causes. For men, the lowest multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for total mortality among drinkers was 0.81 among White men who consumed 1 to 2 drinks 3 to 7 days per week (compared with abstainers) and Black men who abstained. For women, the lowest mortality risk was among White women (HR = 0.71) consuming 1 drink per day 3 to 7 days per week and Black women (HR = 0.72) consuming 1 drink on 2 or fewer days per week.

Conclusions: Risks and benefits of alcohol consumption in relation to mortality risk were dependent on race- and gender-specific drinking patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans*
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / mortality*
  • Cause of Death*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology