Differences in drinking patterns among Ashkenazic and Sephardic Israeli adults

E. Aharonovich*, D. Hasin, G. Rahav, J. Meydan, Y. Neumark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: Since its foundation in 1948, Israel has received large waves of immigrants, mainly from Europe (Ashkenazic Jews, or Ashkenazim) and from North Africa and other Middle Eastern countries (Sephardic Jews, or Sephardim). In Israeli society, Ashkenazic Jews are an advantaged ethnic group, whereas Sephardic Jews are relatively disadvantaged. Little is known about the differences in drinking patterns between these two groups. The relationship between ethnicity and alcohol consumption is investigated in a 1995 data set from a sample of 4,984 subjects (60% women). Method: The data were collected as part of a national Israeli survey. Standardized questions covered drinking and becoming drunk in the last 12 months and drinking in the last 30 days. Unadjusted odds ratios (ORs) indicated the association of group status with the drinking variables. ORs adjusted for potential confounders were created with logistic regression. Results: Unadjusted ORs indicated a negative association between all alcohol measures and Sephardic group status. ORs adjusted for such factors as socioeconomic status and religiosity produced similar results. Conclusions: This study indicates that Sephardim were less likely to drink or become drunk than were Ashkenazim. Further work is required to determine if these differences are stable or changing over time and whether such differences can be attributed to cultural or genetic factors. Similarities to U.S. patterns are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)301-305
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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