Associations between racial and socioeconomic discrimination and risk behaviors among African-American adolescents and young adults: a latent class analysis

Tiffany H. Xie, Manik Ahuja, Vivia V. McCutcheon, Kathleen K. Bucholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Discrimination is a common stressor among African Americans and may increase vulnerability to risk behaviors, such as early initiation of substance use, substance use problems, and physical aggression; however, few studies have examined different types of discrimination and their associations with patterns of risk behaviors. This study examines the relationship between experiences of racial and socioeconomic discrimination and risk behaviors in African-American adolescents and young adults. Methods: We investigated associations of two discrimination types with risk behavior patterns identified with latent class analysis in a high-risk sample of African Americans (N = 797, Mage = 17.9 years, 50.2% female). Results: Four distinct classes of risk behaviors were characterized by High Use and Aggression (10%), Moderate Use and Aggression (10%), High Alcohol (17%), and Low Use and Aggression (63%). Classes that exhibit general risk behaviors, including substance use and aggression, were significantly associated with racial and socioeconomic discrimination, even in the fully adjusted model. Relative to other classes, the High Use and Aggression class demonstrated an elevated likelihood of experiencing both racial and socioeconomic discrimination. Conclusions: Findings support a link between racial and socioeconomic discrimination and risk behavior in African-American youth, which may be stronger for socioeconomic discrimination. Understanding the relationship between discrimination and risk behavior can inform future interventions to prevent substance misuse and conduct problems in youth. Further study is needed to elucidate the relationship between discrimination and other risk behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1479-1489
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume55
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Black/African American
  • Discrimination
  • Latent class analysis
  • Substance use

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