Comparison of subjective response to alcohol in Caucasian and Hispanic/Latino samples

Kailey A. Richner, William Corbin, Kyle R. Menary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Individual differences in subjective response (SR) to alcohol (e.g., stimulation, sedation) are a significant predictor of negative alcohol outcomes. Previous studies have reported ethnic differences in SR (e.g., between some Asian populations and Caucasians), but very few studies have examined SR among Hispanic/Latino individuals. To address this gap in the literature, the present study utilized data from a large-scale, placebo-controlled alcohol administration study to examine differences in SR between Hispanic/Latino and Caucasian individuals. Social drinkers (N = 447) aged 21 to 25 years were randomized to receive either a dose of alcohol targeting a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of.08 g% or placebo. Only non-Hispanic Caucasian participants (n = 234) and Hispanic/Latino participants (n = 87) were utilized in analyses. SR was assessed at baseline, on the ascending limb of the blood alcohol curve, at peak BAC, and on the descending limb. Repeated measures ANCOVA was utilized to examine interactions between beverage condition, ethnicity, and time predicting SR. The interaction between beverage condition, ethnicity, and time was significant only for low-arousal negative SR (negative sedative effects), such that Hispanic/Latino individuals experienced stronger sedative effects under alcohol (vs. placebo) compared with Caucasian individuals. Caucasians and Hispanic/Latinos showed a similar profile of response with respect to positive aspects of SR (e.g., stimulation). In summary, Hispanic/Latino individuals reported stronger negative SR to alcohol compared with Caucasian individuals, which may be protective against alcohol-related problems. However, future studies are needed to investigate why Hispanic/Latino males remain at relatively high risk for alcohol problems despite stronger negative SR relative to Caucasians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental and clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Hispanic/Latino
  • alcohol
  • ethnicity
  • placebo
  • subjective response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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