The role of race/ethnicity in alcohol-attributable injury in the United States

Katherine M. Keyes, Xianfang C. Liu, Magdalena Cerda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


A substantial proportion of injuries worldwide are attributable to alcohol consumption, and US estimates indicate that the drinking patterns of racial/ethnic groups vary considerably. The authors reviewed evidence from 19 publications regarding racial/ethnic differences in overall alcohol-attributable injury as well as percent blood alcohol content positivity for injury deaths in the United States. They found that Native Americans evidence higher rates of alcohol-attributable motor vehicle crash fatality, suicide, and falls compared with other racial/ethnic groups; conversely, Asians evidence lower rates of alcohol-attributable injury than other racial/ethnic groups. The rate of alcohol positivity and intoxication among Hispanics is disproportionately high relative to estimates of alcohol use. Black subgroups also evidence higher rates of alcohol positivity than would be expected given estimates of alcohol use, including for alcohol positivity among drivers of fatally injured black children and homicide. These findings highlight the continued need for public health focus on Native American populations with respect to alcohol consumption and injury. Further, the disparity in alcohol-attributable injury mortality among black and Hispanic groups relative to their reported rates of alcohol consumption is an overlooked area of research. The authors review potential social determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in alcohol-attributable injuries and identify directions for further research on these patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-102
Number of pages14
JournalEpidemiologic Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • accidents
  • alcohol drinking
  • alcoholic intoxication
  • homicide
  • minority health
  • motor vehicles
  • suicide
  • wounds and injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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