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Prevalence of Substance Use Among Racial & Ethnic Subgroups in the U.S.

2.3 Sociodemographic Control Variables

All analyses in this report are presented separately for adolescents (individuals aged 12 to 17) and older respondents. Chapter 4 broadly describes the associations between race/ethnicity and substance use by controlling only for the gender and detailed age of the respondent (12 to 17, 18 to 25, 26 to 34, 35 and older). With a few exceptions, the analyses of Chapter 4 suggest that racial/ethnic differences in substance use are similar for males and females. Chapter 5 presents a more detailed analysis of the associations between race/ethnicity and substance use, by controlling for a dozen sociodemographic variables in addition to age of respondent (12 to 17 versus 18 and older). The sociodemographic control variables in Chapter 5 depend on whether the respondent is aged 12 to 17 or 18 or older. For respondents aged 12 to 17, the control variables are region, population density, language of interview (Spanish vs. English), family income, health insurance coverage, receipt of welfare by a member of the household, school enrollment, and family structure (living with two biological parents vs. all other living arrangements). For respondents aged 18 and older, the control variables are region, population density, language of interview (Spanish vs. English), family income, health insurance coverage, receipt of welfare by the household, educational attainment, marital status, employment status, and own children (none vs. one or more).

Based on preliminary analyses, we collapsed family income into three income groups according to whether the family income was less than $20,000, between $20,000 and $40,000, or greater than $40,000. Based on research showing a complex, nonlinear relationship between educational attainment and substance use (Zhu et al., 1996), we distinguished four categories of educational attainment: 0-8 years of schooling, 9-11 years, 12 years, and more than 12 years.

Table 2.4 defines the levels of all sociodemographic control variables that are used in this report and also provides the operational definitions of the levels.

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This page was last updated on May 19, 2008.