By Dr. Tyrese Gains, TheGrio.com – A new study of Pennsylvania teens found racial differences in the personality traits that contribute to youth drinking.
Previous research has already shown that black adolescents drink alcohol less often and drink less heavily than white adolescents. However, University of Pittsburgh researchers looked into the personality differences that may play a role.
The white teens seemed to be “sensation seeking” — defined as looking for the next thrill or risk, while the black teens had more impulsive tendencies, according to the findings. Higher levels of sensation seeking were associated with heavier alcohol use in these teens, implying that this trait may explain why white teens drink more heavily.
Additional research is needed to know the role impulsivity plays in youth alcohol use. But, 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.