According to a variety of studies, Black teens drink less alcohol than their white peers.

But according to, the particular reasons why remain unclear. According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, “racial differences in personality traits among teens might somehow explain the differences in youth drinking.”


“In their Tween to Teen project, researchers followed over 400 8-10 year olds for 7.5 years to explore these racial differences. They believe that white teens were more prone to being “sensation seeking” and out for the thrill, which has been associated with heavier alcohol use. Meanwhile, Black teens are believed to be more impulsive.


And while more researchers need to do more work around how being impulsive impacts alcohol use, Dr. Tyreese Gaines from The Grio offers up some explanations as to what the data says about Black teens who drink. He wrote:

[Some] older studies suggest that African-Americans who consume alcohol have more alcohol-related consequences. And, while lower socioeconomic status is related to increased impulsivity, the data showed it was not the sole reason for the racial differences.”

As the Grio points out, older studies show that while Black Youth drink less than whites, they suffer greater alcohol-related consequences.

The research suggests that effectively combating alcoholism will require an approach tailored to the specific needs of Black youth.

“Gregory Smith, university research professor and director of clinical training at the University of Kentucky, told Medical Express, ‘[Professionals should] develop more specific interventions, some focusing on sensation seeking-based risk and others focusing on other aspects of risk. Each child should be assessed for his or her specific risk profile.” He added, “For clinicians and researchers, there is a need to learn more about why African American youth tend to drink less but have more alcohol-related problems.'”


What are your thoughts on the results of this study?

Why do you think Black youth drink less than their white peers?

Sound off below!