Alcohol Research Group
Established in 1959, ARG conducts and disseminates research on the epidemiology of alcohol and other drug consumption and problems, alcohol health services research, and alcohol policies while also training future generations of researchers. ARG is also home to the National Alcohol Research Center.
12-step Alternatives and Recovery Outcomes in a Large National Study
This was a longitudinal survey study involving original data collection with attendees of 12-step groups and the major secular alternatives to those groups in the U.S. (i.e., SMART Recovery, LifeRing, and Women for Sobriety). Aims were to characterize attendees of each group and to compare how participation in each group relates to recovery outcomes across time. The study also compared patterns of participation over time across the four mutual help groups. PI: Sarah E. Zemore
A Case-crossover ER Study Design to Inform Tailored Interventions to Prevent Disease Progression in Alcoholic Pancreatitis
This is a collaborative study across four medical centers (Cedars-Sinai, VA Greater LA, Pittsburgh and Ohio State University) which will examine the timing and extent of drinking that precipitates an attack of acute pancreatitis. Patients will be interviewed at the time of admission and bio-specimens obtained, and followed up to 24 months for prospective control periods and recurrent acute pancreatitis. PI: Cheryl Cherpitel
Acculturation and Alcohol among U.S. Latinas
Alcohol and Pregnancy: Do State-level Punitive and Supportive Policies Matter?
This study is focused on the effects of state-level policies relating to alcohol use during pregnancy and whether effects vary by race/ethnicity and SES. This project identified state-level policies targeting alcohol use during pregnancy that are associated with improved alcohol use and pregnancy outcomes, as well as which policies are associated with unintended consequences (of prenatal care avoidance) and examined whether there are disparate effects of these policies. PI: William C. Kerr
Alcohol’s Harms to Others among US Adults: Individual and Contextual Effects
Project aims were to (1) estimate rates, sources and severity of alcohol’s harms to others (AHTO); test hypotheses about gender and other differences in AHTO; (2) examine environmental influences (e.g., urbanicity, disadvantage, alcohol access) to gain insight about preventing such harms; and (3) use study the roles of state alcohol policies (like taxes and availability) and investigate the interplay of influences on events, sources and severity of US harms. MPI: Thomas K. Greenfield and Katherine Karriker-Jaffe
Awareness of Alcohol as a Breast Cancer Risk Factor
Alcohol use is the third largest contributor to cancer cases among U.S. women, and female breast cancer accounts for nearly 80% of alcohol-attributable cases of cancer. However, many people are unaware of how drinking can increase their risk. Through the development and distribution of an educational campaign, this project will promote a greater understanding among young women about their own drinking and how it impacts their health so they can make more informed choices. PI: Priscilla Martinez
Calibrated Agent Simulations for Combined Analysis of Drinking Etiologies (CASCADE)
This project aims to develop agent-based models and systems-based models of the UK and US populations for the sequential and linked purposes of testing theories of alcohol use behaviors, predicting population alcohol use patterns, predicting population level alcohol outcomes of liver cirrhosis and alcohol poisonings and evaluating the impacts of policy interventions on alcohol use patterns and harmful outcomes. PI: William C. Kerr
California Reducing Disparities Project—Phase II: Asian American and Pacific Islander Technical Assistance Provider: Special Service for Groups
This is a statewide prevention and early intervention effort to achieve mental health equity for populations most affected by disparities —African Americans; Asian and Pacific Islanders; Latinos; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning; and Native American. Through TA to API population, the goal is to demonstrate the effectiveness of “Community Defined Evidence Practices” through a rigorous community-participatory evaluation over the 5-year period. PI: Camillia K. Lui
Community College Smokefree Policies: Disparities, Contexts and Strategies
This TRDRP New Investigator Study examines campus and community factors on smoke-free policy adoption in community colleges. Through partnerships with CYAN and HSACCC, this is a mixed methods study of existing data (tobacco control policy databases, school records, survey data, and Census) and case studies of community colleges. Findings will help facilitate the adoption of smoke-free policy at California community colleges. PI: Camillia K. Lui
Cross-national Analysis of Alcohol and Injury
This project addresses a number of highly important areas related to estimating alcohol attributable fraction of injury morbidity, worldwide, for informing the global burden of disease, and will inform U.S. policy, potentially leading to policy change as well as intervention and prevention strategies, important to policymakers, public health professionals and the research community. PI: Cheryl Cherpitel
Developing a New Scale of Treatment Readiness
This scale development study aimed to develop a new scale of treatment readiness based on Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior. The study conducted focus groups and individual interviews (N=200) at an outpatient treatment facility to develop and validate a new readiness scale. In addition to key validity tests, the study explored the impact of reporting biases on the measurement of alcohol outcomes and treatment readiness. PI: Sarah E. Zemore
Disadvantage and Sociocultural Modifiers in Asian American Drinking
Common markers of socioeconomic status may not adequately capture the social position affecting drinking in immigrant populations. Using the National Latino and Asian American Survey data, this study examined the role of two alternative indicators of disadvantage (subjective social status and financial hardship) in heavy drinking and alcohol use disorder in Asian American adults and the moderation of this relationship by ethnic identification. PI: Won Kim Cook
Disparities in Access to Appropriate Treatment Services
This study analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, waves I and II, to examine racial/ethnic variation in the need for alcohol treatment and the persistence of need over time, racial disparities in access to appropriate treatment, and factors contributing to racial/ethnic disparities in treatment. MPI: Nina Mulia
Disrupting Pathways from Early Adversity to Adult Substance Abuse: Identifying Education Resilience Factors in Diverse Groups
Using prospective data from children born to female participants in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this study examines long-term effects of early childhood adversity on educational success and substance use outcomes from birth through young adulthood. This study aims to identify modifiable, education-related factors at multiple levels (school, family, individual) that can mitigate negative effects of early adversity. PI: Nina Mulia
Drinking Patterns, Lifestyle Factors and Chronic Conditions in Asian Americans
This study aims to improve understanding of the relationship between harmful drinking patterns and cardiovascular disease and related conditions in Asian Americans. It is a secondary analysis of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions II and III. A strong focus of this study is on the roles alcohol metabolizing genes and other risk behaviors play in the drinking-disease risk relationship. PI: Won Kim Cook
Effects of Disadvantage and Protective Resources on Alcohol-related Disparities
Aims of this epidemiological study were to describe and explain disparities between Whites, Blacks, and Latinos in heavy drinking and alcohol problems. Particular focus was devoted to the differential relationship between alcohol consumption and consequences (including dependence) across race/ethnicity. Methods primarily involved secondary analysis of the 2010 National Alcohol Survey data. MPIs: Sarah E. Zemore and Nina Mulia
Effects of Marriage Recognition on Substance Abuse and Health for Women
The study draws on minority stress, intersectionality, and social-ecological frameworks and a mixed-methods research design to identify and assess factors that underlie the effect of marriage recognition on health and to examine relationships between these factors and three health outcomes among SMW: hazardous drinking, depression, and poor general health. Several key innovations ensure the success and high impact of this project. PI: Karen Trocki
Effects of Spirits Privatization on Alcohol Prices and Alcohol-related Harms
Our studies of spirits privatization included analyses of spirits price changes, cross-border sales to neighboring states and changes in per capita consumption. Survey based analyses evaluated changes in drinks patterns across privatization, opinions on privatization and other policies, changes in spirits purchasing and store satisfaction and changes in the use of cannabis with alcohol. PI: William C. Kerr
Identifying Modifiable Influences on Alcohol Problems in High-Risk Neighborhoods
The primary aims were to develop and test a socioecological model of relapse and recovery from alcohol problems in order to describe how neighborhood, social network and individual factors independently and interactively predict relapse and recovery from alcohol problems and alcohol use disorder over time. PI: Katherine Karriker-Jaffe
Impacts of Recreational Marijuana Legalization and Retail Outlets in Washington: Unique Perspectives from Survey and County Mortality Data
This project will utilize geo-referenced survey data from 2014 to 2016 to investigate relationships between local cannabis policy and retail outlet locations and measures of cannabis use patterns including use with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. County-level analyses of mortality rates will evaluate relationships with store openings and numbers over the 2008 to 2018 period. PI: William C. Kerr
Individual & Community Influences on AUDs & Other Mental Health Behaviors in Mexican Americans
Goals are to develop a multilevel, bio-psychosocial-ecological model of risk and protective factors for binge drinking, alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and other mental health behaviors in Mexican American young adults (primarily second generation immigrants). The team has expertise in community studies, bio-psychosocial measures, biometrics and genetics to tackle these complex problems. PI: Katherine Karriker-Jaffe
Inflammation and Alcohol-related Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities
This K01 project assesses how race/ethnicity impacts alcohol’s effect on inflammation and how environmental stressors and unhealthy behaviors contribute to the impact of race/ethnicity on the risk of developing hypertension, diabetes, and depression from using alcohol. The study will also examine the utility and feasibility of using self-administered dried blood spots in the U.S. National Alcohol Survey and explore immune markers to study alcohol’s effect on inflammation. PI: Priscilla Martinez
Inter-Relationships Between Life-Course Alcohol Patterns and Health Conditions
This project quantified the impacts of health problems and conditions on drinking patterns over the life-course and will utilized these findings to more clearly evaluate the role of alcohol in diabetes, hypertension and heart disease and on general health status with attention to disparities in these relationships. This project also evaluated impacts of childhood adversity on these outcomes. PI: William C. Kerr
Neural Basis of Substance Use Disorders and Suicide in American Indians
The study seeks to identify neural mechanisms, as well as individual and community risk factors, for substance use disorders (SUDs) and suicide in a community sample of American Indians (AI) residing on rural reservations. We emphasize multiple risk factor pathways that emerge in the adolescent and young adult periods which can influence the development of both SUDs and suicidal behaviors. PI: Katherine Karriker-Jaffe
Randomized Trial of Intensive MI to Improve Drinking Outcomes Among Women
This project focuses on outpatient treatment for women with alcohol problems and is designed to assess the efficacy of intensive motivational interviewing (IMI). The study will recruit 220 adult women, each randomized to one of two treatment types with services provided by licensed therapists and practitioners. The study will also look at effectiveness over time, following participants up to a year after their treatment concludes. PI: Douglas L. Polcin
Recovery Definitions and Behavior Change Processes in Recovery Outside of Treatment
The long-term goal of this study is to expand the repertoire of responses to problem drinking. Using mixed quantitative-qualitative approaches, the study will test how recovery definitions vary by treatment exposure, characterize the processes of recovery without treatment, and estimate the likelihood of sustained recovery and identify modifiable correlates associated with recovery. PI: Sarah E. Zemore
Recovery Housing for Alcohol and Drug Use Disorders: A National Study of Availability, Characteristics, and Factors Associated with Evidence-based Pra
Risk of Motor Vehicle Crashes from Cannabis Use in Emergency Department Patients
This project examines the prevalence of cannabis use, patterns and context among adult injured drivers and driving medical patients at Oregon Health & Science University ED. It estimates the relative risk of motor vehicle crashes for cannabis use controlling for injury and other drug use context and the dose-response relationship of cannabis use of MVC risk, quantifying the amount of use through serum ?-9-THC and cannabis metabolites and interviews regarding use of cannabis. PI: Cheryl Cherpitel
Sexual Orientation Differences: Prevalence & Correlates of Substance Use and Abuse
The study employs new methods to collect data from a large oversample of sexual minority women (SMW) through an extension of the National Alcohol Survey (NAS) to examine mediators and moderators of hazardous drinking and other substance use among SMW and to conduct methodological studies comparing population-based to volunteer samples of SMW. PI: Karen Trocki
Social, Developmental and Genetic Epidemiology of Alcohol Use Disorders
This international, interdisciplinary team assessed effects of exposure to risk factors in the neighborhood environment, peer context and family system during different phases in the lifecourse on development, severity and social sequelae of alcohol use disorder using longitudinal population data from Sweden. PI: Katherine Karriker-Jaffe
Understanding Disparities in Alcohol Treatment Services Utilization
This study aims to better understand barriers that may explain Latino-White disparities in the use of alcohol treatment services. It involves interviews to refine a newly developed, theory-driven, treatment barriers scale and recruitment of a nationally representative sample of Whites and Latinos with recent alcohol use disorders to validate the treament barriers scale via psychometric testing and examine barriers that give rise to Latino-White disparities. PI: Sarah E. Zemore
Understanding Racial Disparities in Heavy Drinking over the Life Course
This study analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) to assess racial/ethnic disparities in men’s and women’s heavy drinking and alcohol problems from late adolescence to midlife. The study investigated lifecourse socioeconomic factors that increased risk for these outcomes, and examined whether disparities are explained by differential exposure to, and consequences of, these risk factors. PI: Nina Mulia
Here's How We're Making a Difference
Addiction Recovery Residences to Improve Health Outcomes in High-Risk Men
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at increased risk for substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and other adverse health conditions. Addiction recovery residences are an effective intervention, but the unique experiences of sexual minorities in these settings was previously under-researched. To address this gap in the literature, ARG's two-year research study in Austin, Texas, aimed to: Examine the components of a recovery residence serving MSM and understand how differed from general recovery residencies; and to identify the barriers or opportunities to opening and operating recovery residences for MSM and members of the LGBT community.
This 2015 study found that MSM-specific recovery housing is not only important, the care provided can lead to better long-term health outcomes for patients. The findings also highlighted the importance of creating organizational infrastructure and to support LGBT-specific recovery residences and members of the LGBT community who live there.
Advancing 50+ Years of Research with PHI's Alcohol Research Group
Founded over fifty years ago, PHI's Alcohol Research Group (ARG) is a multidisciplinary research center whose focus is to conduct research on alcohol use patterns and associated problems and dissemination of research findings. Their research team is comprised of epidemiologists, psychologists, economists and researchers in other disciplines.
ARG researchers have publishedmore than 1000 peer-reviewed journal articles, including one study that found privatization of liquor sales in Washington state resulted in substantially higher prices to consumers on average. ARG's Alcohol Research Center was also redesignated as a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center on Alcohol Epidemiology and Injury through September 2019.
Assessing Familial Risk for Alcohol Use Disorders
Is it possible to identify clinical and historical features of Alcohol Use Disorder that reflect familial risk? Using longitudinal population data from Sweden, PHI’s Alcohol Research Group collaborated with researchers from across the world to assess the effects of alcohol exposure to risk factors in the neighborhood environment, peer context and family system. Within the sample, they found a number of factors which strongly predicted the risk for Alcohol Use Disorder in relatives: age at first registration, number of registrations, recurrence and history of drug abuse.
Researching the Interaction of Mental Health and Social Support on Drug Relapse in Recovery Homes
Sober living houses (SLHs) offer an alcohol- and drug-free living environment to people with substance use disorders, and are becoming increasingly important as the addiction field continues to emphasize long-term services in communities that can facilitate sustained recovery over time.
A study led by PHI's Alcohol Research Group, “An Evaluation of Sober Living Houses,” found that people who entered SLHs who were homeless or in unstable living arrangements improved their housing status over 18 months, and also showed improvement in psychiatric health. Housing status and psychiatric problems each independently predicted substance abuse outcomes. Social support also predicted better substance abuse outcomes for the entire sample—but it had the strongest, most consistent impact on persons with lower levels of psychiatric symptoms.
Training the Next Generation of Alcohol Researchers
In collaboration with UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, the National Alcohol Research Center at PHI’s Alcohol Research Group accepts 6-8 trainees annually to the Graduate Research Training on Alcohol Problems program.
With a diverse, multidisciplinary training faculty, the program trains the next generation of researchers in cutting-edge methods for studying the social epidemiology of alcohol and other drug problems, and related health services. Since its inception in 1971, hundreds of former participants have moved on to help advance the field through careers in academia, government and free-standing research institutes.
Uncovering Marijuana Usage Trends in the US
PHI's Alcohol Research Group, which has conducted several studies in recent years on marijuana use, published new research in 2017 finding a sharp increase in marijuana use in the U.S., particularly among women, whose rate of use has doubled since 1984. The researchers concluded that the higher usage rates are a reflection of society becoming more tolerant and accepting of marijuana use, rather than a direct result of medicinal or recreational marijuana legalization.
Uncovering New Alcohol Use Harms—& Opportunities to Decrease Them
Each year, one in five U.S. adults—an estimated 53 million people—experience harm because of someone else’s drinking, according to a study released this year by PHI’s Alcohol Research Group. Women were more likely to report financial and family problems, while men were more likely to report ruined property, vandalism, and physical aggression. A related study, also released by the Alcohol Research Group, found that states with stronger alcohol-related policies had 16% fewer aggression-related or driving-related harms. Learn more.