Driving under the influence of alcohol: examining ethno-specific rates and the mediating effects of psychological distress and harmful and problematic drinking.

Research paper by Mark M Asbridge, Elspeth E Payne, Jennifer J Cartwright, Robert R Mann

Indexed on: 06 May '10Published on: 06 May '10Published in: Accident Analysis & Prevention


This paper examines ethnic disparities in rates of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA) in a representative sample of Ontario adults. Data were drawn from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Monitor, a survey of 8276 Ontario adults aged 18 and older. We considered 19 distinct ethnic groups based on participants' self-identification of ethno-cultural heritage. Differences in the prevalence of DUIA across ethnic groups were limited. Relative to other ethnic groups, those adults who identified as Irish had a significantly higher rate of DUIA, while those of Italian and Chinese ethnicity had significantly lower rates of DUIA. The mediating effects of psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire) and harmful and problematic drinking (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test [AUDIT] consumption, dependence and problems) on the direct relationship between ethnic identity and impaired driving were also considered. Mediation was observed as remaining ethnic differences in DUIA disappeared when AUDIT subscales were introduced. These findings are interpreted in the context of patterns of alcohol consumption among ethnic populations and their impact on DUIA. Implications of study findings are considered with respect to the role of ethnicity in impaired driving research and its impact on programs and policies directed at reducing impaired driving.