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      Education Attainment and Alcohol Binge Drinking: Diminished Returns of Hispanics in Los Angeles

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          Abstract

          According to the minorities’ diminished returns (MDR) theory, socioeconomic status (SES) indicators such as education attainment have smaller protective effects on health risk behaviors for racial and ethnic minority groups in comparison to the ‘dominant’ social group. However, most studies of MDR theory have been on comparison of Blacks versus Whites. Much less is known about diminished returns of SES in ethnic subpopulations (i.e., Hispanics versus non-Hispanic Whites). To test whether MDR also holds for the social patterning of problematic alcohol use among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Whites, this study investigated ethnic variations in the association between education attainment and alcohol binge drinking frequency in a population-based sample of adults. Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey, 2001, included 907 non-Hispanic White and 2117 Hispanic White adults (≥18 years old). Hispanic ethnicity (moderator), education attainment (independent variable), alcohol binge drinking frequency (dependent variable), and gender, age, immigration status, employment status, self-rated health, and history of depression (confounders) were included in four linear regressions. In the overall sample that included both non-Hispanic and Hispanic Whites, higher education attainment was correlated with lower alcohol binge drinking frequency (b = −0.05, 95% CI = −0.09–−0.02), net of covariates. A significant interaction was found between ethnicity and education attainment (b = 0.09; 95% CI = 0.00–0.17), indicating a stronger protective effect of high education attainment against alcohol binge drinking frequency for non-Hispanic than Hispanic Whites. In ethnic-stratified models, higher level of education attainment was associated with lower binge drinking frequency among non-Hispanic Whites (b = −0.11, 95% CI = −0.19–−0.03), but not among Hispanic Whites (b = −0.01, 95% CI = −0.04–0.03). While, overall, higher education attainment is associated with lower frequency of alcohol binge drinking, this protective effect of education attainment seems to be weaker among Hispanic Whites compared to non-Hispanic Whites, a phenomenon consistent with the MDR theory.

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          Most cited references 39

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          The Intersection of Gender and Race in the Labor Market

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            Unequal Gain of Equal Resources across Racial Groups

            The health effects of economic resources (eg, education, employment, and living place) and psychological assets (eg, self-efficacy, perceived control over life, anger control, and emotions) are well-known. This article summarizes the results of a growing body of evidence documenting Blacks’ diminished return, defined as a systematically smaller health gain from economic resources and psychological assets for Blacks in comparison to Whites. Due to structural barriers that Blacks face in their daily lives, the very same resources and assets generate smaller health gain for Blacks compared to Whites. Even in the presence of equal access to resources and assets, such unequal health gain constantly generates a racial health gap between Blacks and Whites in the United States. In this paper, a number of public policies are recommended based on these findings. First and foremost, public policies should not merely focus on equalizing access to resources and assets, but also reduce the societal and structural barriers that hinder Blacks. Policy solutions should aim to reduce various manifestations of structural racism including but not limited to differential pay, residential segregation, lower quality of education, and crime in Black and urban communities. As income was not found to follow the same pattern demonstrated for other resources and assets (ie, income generated similar decline in risk of mortality for Whites and Blacks), policies that enforce equal income and increase minimum wage for marginalized populations are essential. Improving quality of education of youth and employability of young adults will enable Blacks to compete for high paying jobs. Policies that reduce racism and discrimination in the labor market are also needed. Without such policies, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate the sustained racial health gap in the United States.
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              Health Disparities due to Diminished Return among Black Americans: Public Policy Solutions

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Behav Sci (Basel)
                Behav Sci (Basel)
                behavsci
                Behavioral Sciences
                MDPI
                2076-328X
                14 January 2019
                January 2019
                : 9
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
                [2 ]BRITE Center for Science, Research and Policy, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
                [3 ]Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH), School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
                [4 ]Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, 4250 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2700, USA
                [5 ]Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA; mehdi.farokhnia@ 123456nih.gov
                [6 ]Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA; riteshm@ 123456umich.edu
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: assarish@ 123456ucla.edu
                Article
                behavsci-09-00009
                10.3390/bs9010009
                6359422
                30646592
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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