Differences in heavy alcohol consumption and depression among Non-Hispanic Black women compared to Non-Hispanic White women in the United States

Have you ever wondered what the differences in alcohol dependence and depression were among Non-Hispanic black women compared to Non-Hispanic white women? 

  Well have no fear, Quonesha is here (to inform you)! 

Depression and alcohol use disorder affects many Americans nationwide. Evidence suggests that depression and alcoholism are closely associated as there are at least 30-40% of those with alcohol dependence that experience some type of depressive disorder (Hobden, Bryant, Sanson-Fisher, Oldmeadow, Carey 2018); however, there is conflicting evidence that suggests whether depression causes alcohol dependence or if alcohol dependence is the cause of depression (Boden & Fergusson 2011).

Although the prevalence of alcohol dependence affects many racial groups, Non-Hispanic black women are known to be less likely than persons of other racial groups, such as Non-Hispanic whites, to use and abuse alcohol. In contrast, the prevalence of depression is higher among Non-Hispanic black women (9.2%) compared to Non-Hispanic white women (7.9%) (Klein, Sterk, Elfison, 2016 & Caetano, Baruah, Chartier, 2011).

For a further look into previous research studies, I decided to take it upon myself to conduct my own study that examined the differences in heavy alcohol consumption and depression among Non-Hispanic black women compared to Non-Hispanic white women.

To conduct this study, I used data from 2015-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)  to examine the differences in heavy alcohol consumption and depression among Non-Hispanic black women compared to Non-Hispanic white women residing in the United States. There were 971 (32.6%) Hispanic women, 651 (21.8%) Non-Hispanic black women, 910 (30.6%) Non-Hispanic white women, and 444 (15%) women of other racial groups present in this research study; however, Non-Hispanic black women and Non-Hispanic white women where used for this study.

Heavy alcohol consumption was measured by women that consumed more than eight drinks per week or more than three drinks per occasion, and mental health status was measured using a depression screening that asked participants a series of questions regarding depression. To analyze the data, i decided to perform Chi-square tests of independence and logistic regressions to predict the relationship between the independent variable, race, and the dependent variables, heavy alcohol consumption and depression. 

There were significant differences among Non-Hispanic black women compared to Non-Hispanic white women, regarding heavy alcohol consumption (p-value: 0.002). However, there were no significant differences among Non-Hispanic black women compared to Non-Hispanic white women, regarding depression (p-value: 0.288) and depression and heavy alcohol consumption (p-value: 0.242).

Additionally, the logistic regression analysis found that there were significant differences between the two groups regarding heavy alcohol consumption (p-value: 0.007, O.R: 1.51, 95% C.I: 1.13, 1.99). However, there were no significant differences among the two groups regarding depression (p-value: 0.259, O.R: 1.16, 95% C.I: 0.88, 1.55) and depression and heavy alcohol consumption (p-value: 0.271, O.R: 1.34, 95% C.I: 0.77, 2.32)

  Depressed* Heavy alcohol consumption* *Depressed and heavy alcohol consumption
  **N (%) P-value Odds Ratio

(95% CI)

**N (%) P-value Odds Ratio (95% CI) **N (%) P-value Odds Ratio

(95% CI)

Total 370 (25.9) N/A N/A


381 (35.4) N/A N/A


134 (34.8) N/A N/A


†Race/ Ethnicity

    Non-Hispanic Black women

    Non-Hispanic White women



132 (3.6)


238 (22.2)







1.00 (ref)


1.16 (0.88,1.55)



120 (3.9)


261 (31.5)







1.00 (ref)


1.51 (1.13,1.99)



43 (4.0)


91 (30.8)







1.00 (ref)



(0.77, 2.32)



The results from this study both contradict and support previous studies. The analyzed data indicates that there were significant differences among Non-Hispanic black women compared to Non-Hispanic white women regarding heavy alcohol consumption, which supports previous studies. However, there were no significant differences among Non-Hispanic black women compared to Non-Hispanic white women regarding depression and depression and heavy alcohol consumption, which contradicts previous studies. Additional research is clearly needed to better understand the etiology and patterns of alcohol use and depression among women across and within racial and ethnic groups. 

I also think that a better understanding of the underlying causes of alcoholism and depression among the two groups will inform public health officials to develop effective prevention programs and interventions that are specifically targeted towards each group (Withbrodt, Mulia, Zemore, Kerr 2014 & Assari 2014).  Affordable alcohol rehabilitation centers that provide mental health services with certified clinicians should be placed in areas with increased rates of alcohol abuse and depressive disorders to make certain that every individual, regardless of race, can receive the same treatment.






Assari S. (2014). Separate and Combined Effects of Anxiety, Depression and Problem Drinking on Subjective Health among Black, Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Men. International journal of preventive medicine5(3), 269–279.

Boden, J. M., & Fergusson, D. M. (2011). Alcohol and depression. Addiction, 106(5), 906-     914.

Caetano, R., Baruah, J., & Chartier, K. G. (2011). Ten-Year Trends (1992 to 2002) in Sociodemographic Predictors and Indicators of Alcohol Abuse and Dependence Among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics in the United States. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Hobden, B., Bryant, J., Sanson-Fisher, R., Oldmeadow, C., & Carey, M. (2018). Co-occurring depression and alcohol misuse is under-identified in general practice: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Health Psychology, 23(8), 1085–1095.

Klein, H., Sterk, C. E., & Elifson, K. W. (2016). The Prevalence of and Factors Associated with Alcohol-Related Problems in a Community Sample of African American Women. Journal of Addiction, 2016, 1-11.

Witbrodt, J., Mulia, N., Zemore, S. E., & Kerr, W. C. (2014). Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Alcohol-Related Problems: Differences by Gender and Level of Heavy Drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research,38 (6), 1662-1670.

It’s my body and I can drink if I want to: But do they know it may not be a great idea!

Whenever we think of the harmful effects of alcohol, liver cirrhosis is usually the first thing that comes to mind for many people; however, recent studies show that there are many adverse effects of alcohol abuse, including breast cancer.

The drinking patterns of women have changed over the last couple of years. Today, women are known to binge drink at higher concentrations and to begin drinking earlier in life, which can contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer. Many women are unaware that approximately 4-10% of breast cancers in the United States are attributable to alcohol consumption, which accounts for 9,000-23,000 new invasive breast cancer cases each year (Liu, Nguyen, & Colditz, 2015).

Women that consume about one drink per day have a 5–9 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not drink at all, which translates to an increased risk of breast cancer for every additional drink that women have per day.


Due to the composition of the female body, often it takes women longer to remove all of the alcohol from their bodies, which can lead to damage of major organs such as the brain, liver, and heart and adverse health outcomes, such as breast cancer. In consideration, everyone, women especially, should be more cautious when drinking.

Many alcohol companies have found ways to target women when advertising alcohol. Things such as “skinny margaritas,” “chick beer,” and “girls night out wine” are all catered to women; however, the harmful effects remain unknown as they aren’t advertised along with it.

Just imagine if skinny girl margarita had “increases chances of developing breast cancer” advertised, as opposed to “the margarita you can trust.” It leads me to ask myself, can we REALLY TRUST YOU, skinny girl margarita? *side eye*

To educate the community so that we can disseminate the message of the adverse health outcomes of consuming alcohol, health advocates should develop campaigns that raise awareness of the connection between drinking alcohol and breast cancer among women. Back in the day, I remembered seeing commercials that raised awareness of the harmful effects that smoking cigarettes or smoking marijuana would cause you. After all those years, I still remember the commercials very vividly.

Health advocates could use the same creative approach to enlighten women on the harmful health effects that alcohol consumption can cause.

After all, it doesn’t hurt to try.



Liu, Ying, et al. “Links between Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer: A Look at the Evidence.” 2015. Womens Health, vol. 11,  no. 1, 65–77.

Women and the Dangers of Drinking

I Need Juice…I Need Mommy Juice!


Last night, while sipping on my “mommy juice,” I read an article regarding “mommy juice” and the message that it potentially sends to young children when they see their mothers reaching for their glass of “mommy juice.”

Disclaimer: I do not have kids yet, but I do have a new puppy that stresses me out. Therefore, I do understand that sometimes, “mama needs her glass of wine.”

While reading the article, I suddenly remembered a TV show that I previously watched named Being Mary Jane that showed a very successful single woman socially drinking with their friends and drinking home alone around her newborn niece. Suddenly I realized that today’s society is slowly normalizing alcoholism, alcohol culture, and “mommy juice” to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Mary Jane, for example, was a successful woman, but she was lonely, and she desperately wanted a child. Mary Jane’s binge drinking and her multiple glasses of wine were ways for her to cope with the harsh reality of her life, as with “mommy juice.”

Today, “mommy juice” seems to have become a trend. Mothers are often seen with cups and t-shirts that allude to drinking being a way to solve all of their problems when in fact the normalization of drinking in response to things happening in life, such as having children, depression, anxiety, can be unhealthy for them and their children. Studies show that women that drink excessively are more susceptible to liver disease, certain cancers, heart disease, and it can also speed up the aging process— who doesn’t want to look young forever (CDC 2016). Children that often observe their mother drinking excessively often deal with emotional problems such as guilt, anxiety, depression, and they are more likely to begin drinking at an earlier age.
Don’t get me wrong moms, I am “pro-mommy juice,” in moderation of course, but we all should be conscious of the adverse effects that could come with it for ourselves, our children, and our puppies.