Ethnic Identity, Perceived Discrimination, Substance Use and Misuse among Black-White Biracial Adults

Brittany Miller-Roenigk, Bridgette Peteet, Caravella McCuistian, A. Kathleen Burlew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Multiracial groups are projected to be the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, more than tripling in size over the next four decades. Marginality Theory suggests that biracial individuals, a subgroup of multiracial, may experience heightened conflict with their ethnic identity due to having to negotiate between two distinct cultures. Research shows that changes in ethnic identity is associated with perceived discrimination, and both are associated with marijuana and alcohol use among multiracial groups. These relationships are sometimes stronger among multiracial individuals than monoracial. Limited research exists among specific biracial groups, such as Black-White biracial individuals, despite unique complexities related to ethnic identity. Research conducted among Black-White biracial individuals is often limited to youth samples and shows disproportionate rates of substance use. Objectives: Given the population increase and disparate substance use outcomes among Black-White biracial youth, it is essential to extend substance use and misuse research to Black-White biracial adults to see if similar disparities exist. The present study examined the direct effect of biracial ethnic identity on marijuana use and alcohol misuse, and indirect effects of perceived discrimination to these relationships among a sample of Black-White biracial adults (n=195) using a 46-item self-report survey administered online via MTurk. Results: Results revealed that while ethnic identity alone was not associated with marijuana use or alcohol misuse, there were significant indirect relationships between ethnic identity, marijuana use, and alcohol misuse through perceived discrimination. Conclusions/Importance: Findings suggest that substance use interventions should seek to address coping with perceived discrimination among this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2151-2159
Number of pages9
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • alcohol misuse
  • biracial
  • discrimination
  • ethnic identity
  • marijuana use
  • Multiracial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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