• Article

Alcohol Sensitivity and Ethnic Background

Previous clinical studies have shown Oriental subjects to be significantly more sensitive to alcohol than Occidental subjects. The results of this study corroborated these findings: the 24 Oriental subjects tested showed significantly more skin flushing, increased heart rate, drop in blood pressure, and general discomfort with alcohol than the 24 Occidental subjects. In addition, the former more frequently reported family histories of flushing. The need for further studies to elucidate the mechanism is apparent. The evidence suggests that the low rates of alcohol abuse and alcoholism commonly found among Oriental people may have physiological rather than cultural origins.


Ewing, J. A., Rouse, B. A., & Pellizzari, E. (1974). Alcohol Sensitivity and Ethnic Background. American Journal of Psychiatry, 131(2), 206-210. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.131.2.206

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