National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC)


Data on Health and Well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Other Native Americans, Data Catalog

National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC)

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Sponsor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Description: The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) was designed to determine the magnitude of alcohol use disorders and their associated disabilities in the general population and in subgroups of the population and to examine changes over time in alcohol use disorders and their associated disabilities. It is a longitudinal survey with its first wave of interviews fielded in 2001-2002 and second wave in 2004-2005. The NESARC is a representative sample of the non-institutionalized U.S. population 18 years of age and older.

The NESARC collects data on background, alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse and dependence, alcohol treatment utilization, family history of alcoholism, tobacco use and dependence, medicine use, drug abuse and dependence, drug treatment utilization, family history of drug abuse, major depression, family history of major depression, dysthymia, mania and hypomania, panic disorder and agoraphobia, social phobia, specific phobia, anxiety disorder, personality disorders, antisocial personality disorder, family history of antisocial personality disorder, pathological gambling, medical conditions, and victimization. Public use data are currently available for the first wave of data collection.

Relevant Policy Issues: Key Health Disparities, Factors Contributing to Measured Health Disparities.
Data Type(s): Survey
Unit of Analysis: Individual
Identification of AI/AN/NA: The interviewer presents a flashcard with racial categories listed and says, Please select 1 or more categories to describe your race.

The respondent chooses one or more from the following categories:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN)
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (NH/PI)
  • White
AI/AN/NA Population in Data Set: In the first wave of data collection (2001-2002), there were 43,093 respondents. The unweighted frequencies for selected racial categories were as follows:

AI/AN: 1,304
NH/PI: 363
Note that respondents could select more than one category.

For analytical purposes, the Census Bureau imputed race for individuals for whom that information was missing. The Bureau also used an algorithm to code a single race category for those individuals who identified themselves as multi-racial. These computations and imputations resulted in a constructed variable where the unweighted count of American Indians or Alaska Natives (not Hispanic) was 701. Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders are combined with Asians as one category of the constructed variable.

Geographic Scope: The geographic scope of the survey is national. Geographic indicators are available for Census region, Census division, central city vs. not central city, and state. These geographic factors can be incorporated as variables in analyses. However, valid analyses cannot be conducted within these geographic areas because the NESARC was designed to be a representative sample of the U.S.
Date or Frequency: This is a longitudinal study. The first wave of data collection occurred in 2001-2002 and the second wave occurred in 2004-2005.
Data Collection Methodology: Data are collected through computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI).
Participation: Optional, with incentives. Participants who completed the survey were given $80.
Response Rate: The overall survey response rate for the NESARC was 81 percent.
Sampling Methodology: The NESARC used a three-stage sampling design. The sampling frame for the NESARC sample of housing units is the Census 2000/2001 Supplementary Survey (C2SS), a national survey of 78,300 households per month. A group quarters frame was also used. Stage 1 was primary sampling unit (PSU) selection using the C2SS PSUs. Stage 2 was household selection from the sampled PSUs. In Stage 3, one sample person was selected from each household.
Strengths: Data are collected on key policy issues including alcohol and substance use as well as health. When available, the longitudinal data will provide significant opportunities for examining patterns of alcohol use and disability by individuals.
Limitations: Change in sample size for the AI/AN/NA population related to attrition from the study across the two waves of data collection is unknown at this time.
Other: The second wave of data collected in 2004 and 2005 are expected to be ready for use in the summer of 2007.
Access Requirements and Use Restrictions: First wave data are available to public at no cost.
Contact Information: Public use data file and documentation are available at

Ms. Nekisha Lakins
CSR, Incorporated
Phone: (703) 741-7157
Fax: (703) 312-5230

Reports of Interest: The link below provides a list of more than 30 publications using the NESARC data:

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