Perceived ethnic discrimination in relation to smoking and alcohol consumption in ethnic minority groups in The Netherlands: the HELIUS study

Int J Public Health. 2017 Nov;62(8):879-887. doi: 10.1007/s00038-017-0977-2. Epub 2017 May 16.


Objectives: We examined the associations of perceived ethnic discrimination (PED) with smoking and alcohol consumption in ethnic minority groups residing in a middle-sized European city.

Methods: Data were derived from the HELIUS study in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We included 23,126 participants aged 18-70 years of Dutch, South-Asian Surinamese, African Surinamese, Ghanaian, Turkish, and Moroccan origin. We collected self-reported data on PED, current smoking, heavy smoking, nicotine dependence, current drinking, excessive drinking, and alcohol dependence. Logistic regression was used.

Results: In general, we observed positive associations in participants of African Surinamese and Ghanaian origin, but no associations in those of South-Asian Surinamese, Turkish, or Moroccan origin. In African Surinamese, the associations were positive for current smoking, nicotine, and alcohol dependence (odds ratios of 1.16; 95% confidence interval: 1.06-1.27, 1.34; 1.15-1.57 and 1.40; 1.20-1.64, respectively). In Ghanaians, positive association was observed for current drinking (1.21; 1.08-1.36).

Conclusions: The associations of PED with smoking and alcohol consumption considerably varied by ethnicity and outcome measure. This suggests that ethnic minority groups in Europe might use different behavioural strategies to cope with PED.

Keywords: Alcohol consumption; Ethnic differences; HELIUS study; Perceived ethnic discrimination; Smoking.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Netherlands
  • Racism / psychology*
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Young Adult