Objective: Studies have suggested that alcohol use prevalence is increasing among Asian American adolescents and there may be significant differences between specific adolescent Asian American ethnicities.
Method: Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2002-2013) were used to estimate prevalence of alcohol use (lifetime, past-month, past-year) and problem (binge drinking, alcohol use disorder [AUD], and early initiation of use) outcomes among adolescent Asian American ethnicities.
Results: Filipino Americans had the highest prevalence of lifetime (29.3%) and past-month (10.3%) use; Korean Americans had the highest prevalence of past-year use (22.7%). Asian Indian Americans had the lowest prevalence of all three use indicators: 14.6%, 11.9%, and 4.9% for lifetime, past-year, and past-month, respectively. Korean Americans had the highest prevalence of binge drinking (5.4%), Filipino Americans had the highest prevalence of AUD (3.5%), and Vietnamese Americans had the highest prevalence of early initiation of use (13.5%). Asian Indian Americans had the lowest prevalence for all three alcohol problem indicators: 2.6%, 1.0%, and 4.9% for binge drinking, AUD, and early initiation of use, respectively.
Conclusions: Prevalence estimates of alcohol outcomes among Korean, Japanese, and Filipino American adolescents were high and similar to other racial groups that are often considered higher risk racial groups. Estimates among large subgroups with low alcohol use prevalence, Chinese and Asian Indian Americans, may mask high rates among other Asian ethnicities when alcohol use estimates are presented among Asians overall. When feasible, researchers should present alcohol use estimates disaggregated by specific Asian American ethnicities and investigate differences in risk factors across groups.
Keywords: Adolescent; Alcohol use; Asian American; Sub-ethnic differences.
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