Profiles of Psychosocial Risk and Protective Factors and their Associations with Alcohol Use and Regular Smoking in Black Adults



This study aimed to identify the clustering of substance use-related psychosocial risk and protective factors (subgroups) and the differential associations of those subgroups with current alcohol use and regular smoking among Black adults.


Data were drawn from 4462 participants (29% Afro Caribbean, 71% African American; median age = 38; 63% female) in a nationally representative study of social, economic, and structural conditions and health in Black Americans. Latent classes, i.e., subgroups, were derived via latent profile analysis with 10 indicators representing social support and religious involvement (support); demands from family and religious community (demands); and socioeconomic and neighborhood factors and racial discrimination (adversity). Frequency of alcohol use and prevalence of regular smoking were compared across classes using regression analyses.


Four classes emerged: (1) high support, low demands and adversity; (2) high support and demands, low-moderate adversity; (3) low support and demands, low-moderate adversity; and (4) low support, high demands and adversity. Relative to Class 1, frequency of alcohol use and regular smoking prevalence were significantly higher only in Class 4.


Results indicate substantive variations in the clustering of substance use-related psychosocial risk and protective factors in Black adults. Furthermore, they suggest that neither the presence of high demands nor the absence of support alone differentiates likelihood of engaging in frequent alcohol use or regular smoking, but adverse experiences such as racial discrimination may be especially impactful.

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This study was supported by the Peter F. McManus Charitable Trust. The study sponsor had no role in study design; collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; writing the report; or the decision to submit the report for publication.

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Correspondence to Carolyn E. Sartor.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all participants in the National Survey of American Life (NSAL). The current study involved secondary data analysis with publicly available NSAL data and did not require internal review at the authors’ institution.

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Sartor, C.E., Black, A.C. Profiles of Psychosocial Risk and Protective Factors and their Associations with Alcohol Use and Regular Smoking in Black Adults. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 8, 60–68 (2021).

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  • Black/African American
  • Racial discrimination
  • Social support
  • Religious involvement
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarette smoking