We examine whether intersectionality theory-which formalizes the notion that adverse health outcomes owing to having a marginalized social status, identity, or characteristic, may be magnified for individuals with an additional marginalized social status, identity, or characteristic-can be applied using quantitative methods to describe the differential effects of poverty on alcohol consumption across sex and race/ethnicity. Using the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, we analyze longitudinal data from Black, Hispanic, and White drinkers (n = 21,140) to assess multiplicative interactions between poverty, as defined by the US Census Bureau, sex, and race/ethnicity, on adverse alcohol outcomes. Findings indicated that the effect of poverty on the past-year incidence of heavy episodic drinking was stronger among Black men and Black women in comparison to men and women of other racial/ethnic groups. Poverty reduction programs that are culturally informed may help reduce racial/ethnic disparities in the adverse outcomes of alcohol consumption.
Keywords: Alcohol; Health disparities; Intersectionality theory; Race/ethnicity; Social determinants of health.