Objective: Alcohol is one of the most commonly used substances in the United States. Alcohol consumption has been linked to several sociodemographic and social characteristics in the general population. Research is needed to understand the prevalence of and characteristics related to alcohol use in Deaf adults. Our study purpose was to determine nation-wide prevalence of alcohol use and investigate characteristics related to alcohol consumption in Deaf adults in the United States.
Methods: Secondary data were drawn from the Health Information National Trends in American Sign Language (HINTS-ASL). Self-reported data from 1272 Deaf adults (56% female) were used to describe the prevalence of alcohol consumption. Differences between non-drinkers and drinkers were investigated via chi-square analyses. A multinomial logistic regression model was used to predict characteristics for frequency of alcohol consumption.
Results: The prevalence of alcohol use in the past month was 58%. After adjusting for covariates, proximity to Deaf communities was found to be significantly associated with increased alcohol consumption; individuals who lived in Deaf dense areas were 1.5 times more likely to be a regular drinker (95% CI: 1.08, 2.10) and 2.9 times more likely to be a frequent drinker (95% CI: 1.81, 4.69) compared to individuals who lived in less Deaf dense areas. Higher alcohol consumption was reported by Deaf individuals who were younger, male, or educated.
Conclusions: While our Deaf adult sample had similar alcohol use prevalence as in the general population, increased risks for greater alcohol use were identified for specific subgroups. Providing ASL-accessible information about alcohol may increase information sharing among social networks and encourage healthier drinking habits.