Funding: NIAAA P50AA005595
Center research focuses on disparities in health, mental health and social problems through analyses of heavy drinking over the life course and its risk factors both in general populations and specific subgroups.
We examine race, ethnicity and socioeconomic disadvantage to better understand health disparities.
Our work pays close attention to life course and environmental influences, such as early and current economic disadvantage or victimization, neighborhood characteristics, and state policies promoting or restraining heavy drinking. In new ways, we model how trends can be analyzed by age (maturation), period (secular shifts) and birth cohort (generational culture surrounding drinking initiation).
Findings are translated and disseminated to diverse communities comprised of practitioners, policy makers, researchers and the public through press releases, social media platforms, e-blasts, newsletters, and via our partners and collaborators.
The Center is enriched also by its partnerships with many research centers and universities, and national and international organizations. Under the aegis of the UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, ARG also houses a highly successful NIAAA T32 Training Program in Alcohol Epidemiology for a diverse and multidisciplinary group of pre- and post-doctoral fellows, who are mentored by our faculty. We also pilot new approaches and continue to make discoveries in population epidemiology and services research that benefit the alcohol and public health fields and the nation.
Since 1977, the National Alcohol Research Center has conducted critical research on how we drink and how alcohol consumption impacts our lives. It has also assessed policies to determine how best to curb the harms that drinking causes to the individual, their families and communities. The current Center's work has focused on disparities with the goal of reducing alcohol-related inequities between groups through the application of specific methods and sub-population analyses. Within the curren…[Read more]
As a practitioner, one way to assess your clients' drinking habits is to have them compare their current consumption level to how much the rest of the nation is drinking. ARG senior scientist, Thomas K. Greenfield and biostatistician Yu Ye took data from the 2015 National Alcohol Survey (NAS) consisting of individuals residing in 50 states and Washington DC, and looked at the number of drinks both women and men said they consumed per week on average in the previous 12 months. …[Read more]
State Parity Laws May Explain Why Federal Policy Aimed at Increasing Access to Alcohol Treatment Services Shows Modest Effect N. Mulia, C.K. Lui, Y. Ye, M.S. Subbaraman, W.C. Kerr, T.K. Greenfield Summary The purpose of this policy brief is to assess the effectiveness of the 2008 Federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) on treatment admissions for people with substance use issues. This is the first assessment to consider the moderating effect of pre-existing p…[Read more]
Since the mid-1960s, the National Alcohol Survey (NAS) has been collecting data on how Americans drink – who’s drinking, how much, how often, and where, as well as the problems that arise from our patterns of consumption. A lot has changed since the early surveys – we’ve been to the moon and back and can now reach the other side of the world with the click of a mouse – and with these changes, the NAS has grown, adapted, and become an even more essential tool in understanding al…[Read more]
Since the National Alcohol Survey (NAS) first launched in the 1960s, ARG researchers have sought to increase its impact by developing a more robust and relevant tool with which to look at the nation’s alcohol consumption. At the same time, the survey has evolved to reflect changes in our society, our population, and how we communicate with each other. Over the years, a substantial number of NAS-affiliated independent grants have used NAS and additional data to focus on nationally-salien…[Read more]
Each year, one in five U.S. adults -- an estimated 53 million people -- experience harm because of someone else’s drinking, according to new research in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Similar to how policymakers have addressed the effects of secondhand smoke over the last two decades, society needs to combat the secondhand effects of drinking, the authors state, calling alcohol’s harm to others “a significant public health issue.” According to the study -- an analys…[Read more]
Cancer survivors were more likely to report heavy drinking and more frequent heavy drinking occasions compared to others at the same ages with similar drinking histories, according to a new study from the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute. Heavy drinking was defined as having five or more drinks at any one time. When racial and ethnic group-specific effects were evaluated, this increased heavy drinking was found to occur among women and Whites, while no increase…[Read more]
When the National Alcohol Survey (NAS) first began in the mid-1960s, over 2500 people across the US were interviewed. Since then, the NAS has grown to include almost 8,000 US adults enabling both understanding the mechanisms underlying drinking behaviors and the long-term monitoring of our nation’s drinking patterns and its associated problems. While our drinking habits and relationship to alcohol have changed, measuring such changes provides a greater understanding of how alcohol impacts …[Read more]
Low rates of drinking may protect overweight women from developing diabetes while heavy drinking increases risk for all women Women who were overweight and abstained from lifetime drinking were three times more likely to develop diabetes compared with normal weight women who consumed seven or less alcohol drinks per week (low-volume), a new study from Senior Scientist and lead author, William C. Kerr and colleagues, found. No evidence of reduced risk was found for normal weight or obese women o…[Read more]
A new lifecourse study looks at how drinking affects health over a 30-year period People who consume high-levels of alcohol may be at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure according to a new lifecourse study from the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), a program of the Public Health Institute. The study confirms previous research that demonstrated a significant link between hypertension and heavy drinking in both sexes. Results showed that women who drank more than 14 drinks …[Read more]
Drinking hurts more than just the drinker, new study finds Poor mental health linked to financial problems and assaults caused by other drinkers A new cross-sectional study found a strong association between poor quality of life and greater distress for people who experienced financial problems due to someone else’s drinking or had been assaulted by a spouse, partner, or family member. “It was important for us to try to identify harms, such as mental health problems, caused by problem…[Read more]
Even though cannabis is the most commonly used drug by people who drink alcohol, no study has looked at the implications of drinking and smoking cannabis at the same time. ARG Associate Scientist Meenakshi Sabina Subbaraman and Senior Scientist William C. Kerr have done just that - to investigate how combining the two substances affects adult drinkers compared to people who use both separately. Their findings show that simultaneous users had double the odds of drunk driving, social c…[Read more]
New study links moderate cannabis use to persistent alcohol problems; finds no association for heavier or lighter use People with a lifetime alcohol use disorder (AUD) who used cannabis moderately had 2.83 times the number of drinks and experienced 6.82 times greater odds of alcohol-related harms than abstainers, according to a new study from ARG biostatistician and lead author Meenakshi Sabina Subbaraman and colleagues. Mid-level cannabis users also had an increased number of …[Read more]
According to a new national study, 7.4 percent of surveyed respondents reported that children in their care experienced harm as a result of someone else’s drinking. By comparison, previous studies in the U.S. have found general child maltreatment rates to be approximately 1 to 2 percent. The results were published online in the Journal of Pediatrics. Respondent caregivers who experienced alcohol’s harm from a spouse or partner, or if they lived with a heavy drinker, were almost f…[Read more]
Since completing her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at Mills College, associate scientist and former ARG postdoctoral fellow Priscilla Martinez, PhD, has been working at the intersection of biomedical, behavioral, and social approaches to improve health outcomes among diverse populations. Her experiences are varied and rich, involving everything from on-the-ground data collection to designing and running her own studies. All of these experiences led her to pursue a …[Read more]
A recent study from ARG scientist Nina Mulia and colleagues assessed long-term heavy drinking patterns of racial/ethnic groups and found some surprising results. Consistent with other studies, their research showed a significant decline in White men and women's heavy drinking in their 20's while Black men and women's drinking increased during the same period. The study team defined heavy drinking as having six or more drinks on one occasion. What the research team did not expect to …[Read more]
A study from ARG scientists shows a sharp increase in marijuana use in the U.S. since 2005. Marijuana use among women has almost doubled, from 5.5% in 1984 to 10.6% in 2015. Men’s use declined from the 1980s to 2000 but has since increased to 14.7%, matching earlier rates. However, the research suggests that these increases in use were not specifically associated with medicinal or recreational marijuana legalization. [caption id="attachment_2457" align="alignleft" width="160"] William C.…[Read more]
In the US, adults under age forty living in states with more restrictive alcohol policies experience fewer aggression- and drink-driving-related harms from someone else’s drinking than those in states with weaker policies, a new NIAAA-supported study from the Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, found. Results showed that for a 10-point increase in restrictiveness of an alcohol policy scale, including for instance alcohol availability, taxation and drink-driving laws, the…[Read more]
According to a study from ARG Research Associate, Edwina Williams, MPH, and colleagues, when comparing heavy drinking trajectories between two cohorts, trajectories for Hispanics and Whites of both sexes have changed over time. However, Hispanic and White women in the younger cohort saw the greatest increase in heavy drinking compared to other groups. Data from the 1979 and 1997 cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth were used to model heavy drinking frequency from ages 17-31. I…[Read more]
Led by Co-PIs Katherine Karriker-Jaffe and Thomas K. Greenfield, the project on Alcohol’s Harms to Others Among US Adults: Individual and Contextual Effects wrapped up recently after resulting in multiple published works, with several new publications on the horizon. The project, which looked at how someone’s drinking affects their spouse or partner or other family member including children, used data from four cycles of ARG’s National Alcohol Survey (NAS), including the late…[Read more]