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Ethnic Differences in Delays to Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: African Americans, Black Caribbeans and Non-Hispanic Whites

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Perron, B.E., B. Alexander-Eitzman, D. Watkins, R.J. Taylor, R. Baser, H.W. Neighbors, and James S. Jackson. 2009. "Ethnic Differences in Delays to Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: African Americans, Black Caribbeans and Non-Hispanic Whites." Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 41(4): 369-377.

Prior research has shown that minority groups experience greater levels of disability associated with psychiatric and substance use conditions due to barriers to treatment. Treatment delays are an important part of the overall problem of service utilization and access to treatment, yet little work has been done to understand the factors associated with treatment delays among ethnic minorities. This study compares African Americans, Caribbean Blacks and non-Hispanic Whites regarding their probability of making treatment contacts over time, using a combined sample of African Americans and Caribbean Blacks from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) and non-Hispanic Whites from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (NCS-R). Alcohol and other drug use disorders (abuse and dependence) were assessed using the World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Cumulative lifetime probability curves were used to examine race differences in treatment contact. Cox regression analysis was used to test the association between race and treatment groups while controlling for other potential confounding variables. Significant delays in making treatment contact were observed across all disorders. However, no evidence of delays was found for racial differences. In the multivariate analysis, race was not significantly associated with delays. However, comorbid anxiety disorders were found to be a consistent factor associated with a faster time to treatment.

Country of focus: United States.

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