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Sleep Problems and Drinking Frequency among Urban Multiracial and Monoracial Adolescents: Role of Discrimination Experiences and Negative Mood

Abstract

Mounting evidence suggests that multiracial adolescents may be at greater risk than their monoracial peers for both sleep problems and alcohol use. However, mechanisms underlying these uniquely-heightened risky health behaviors among multiracial adolescents remain a gap in the literature. This cross-sectional study examined a risk pathway involving discrimination experiences and negative mood underlying racial disparities in concurrent sleep problems and drinking frequency. Students at an urban, socioeconomically-disadvantaged high school (N = 414; grades 9–11, Mage = 16.00 [SD = 1.08]; 57% female; 17% multiracial, 41% Black, 22% White, 18% Asian, 2% Other; 12% Hispanic/Latinx) completed a survey. Path analysis demonstrated that associations of multiracial status with sleep problems (insomnia symptom severity and insufficient weekday sleep duration), but not drinking frequencies (past-year drinking or past-2-week binge-drinking frequencies), were explained by discrimination experiences and, in turn, negative mood. In ancillary analysis excluding White students, the serial indirect risk pathway was significant for both insomnia symptom severity and past-year drinking frequency outcomes. Discrimination experiences and negative mood may function as intermediate factors contributing to racial disparities in adolescent sleep problems, although longitudinal replication is needed.

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Authors’ Contributions

P.A.G. participated in study coordination, conducted data analyses, and drafted the paper; J.M.D. and M.J.Z. assisted in study coordination, data interpretation, and paper drafting; L.G. participated in study design and coordination, and assisted in data interpretation and paper drafting; A.P. conceived of and designed the study, supervised data collection, analyses and interpretation, and assisted in paper drafting. All authors read and approved the final paper.

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This research was supported by NIAAA grants R15 AA022496 and R01 AA027677 awarded to Aesoon Park. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Goodhines, P.A., Desalu, J.M., Zaso, M.J. et al. Sleep Problems and Drinking Frequency among Urban Multiracial and Monoracial Adolescents: Role of Discrimination Experiences and Negative Mood. J Youth Adolescence 49, 2109–2123 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-020-01310-1

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