Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Sarah Zemore, PhD

Sarah Zemore, PhD, is a scientist at PHI's Alcohol Research Group (ARG).  Her areas of interest include the roles of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and economic strain in substance use, abuse, and treatment, with a focus on modeling stress and coping.  She is also interested in treatment seeking and treatment outcomes among substance-abusing populations. 

Her recent work at ARG has examined the impact of economic loss experienced during the 2008-9 recession on alcohol use and problems, and the cumulative impact of poverty and racial discrimination on alcohol problems.  She is currently involved in a major study of the U.S.-Mexico border.  In other work, she has examined the utilization and efficacy of mutual help groups in recovery, and has explored new social-cognitive models of treatment motivation.   

Zemore earned her doctorate in social psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


12-Step Alternatives and Recovery Outcomes in a Large National Study

Alongside AA, many mutual help groups are now available that help individuals address their substance use problems and can be used before, during, after, and instead of formal treatment. Yet, little is known about the alternatives to AA. The  study would provide much-needed information on the nature and effectiveness of WFS, SMART, LifeRing, and SOS. It could extend the menu of options providers and patients consider, enhancing the likelihood that patients affiliate with a supportive peer network and maintain better outcomes.

Disparities in Alcohol Problems

This National Alcohol Research Center project investigates how race/ethnicity and socioeconomic disadvantage are related to current and lifespan patterns of alcohol use and problems. Critical gaps in knowledge will be addressed, with a special focus on how a severe economic recession may exacerbate drinking problems in already disadvantaged groups. Findings will help to inform efforts to reduce alcohol-related disparities by identifying particularly acute forms of disadvantage, protective factors that mitigate their impact, and high-priority populations that need to be reached during an economic recession.   

Effects of Disadvantage and Protective Resources on Alcohol-Related Disparities

The primary objective of this study is to describe and explain racial disparities in both heavy drinking and alcohol problems at equivalent levels of consumption. The conceptual approach recognizes that racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. are differentially exposed to economic, social and neighborhood disadvantages, and draws on recent theoretical work suggesting that cumulative exposure to disadvantage may play a significant role in understanding health disparities.

Epidemiology of Drinking and Disorders among Mexican-Origin Adults in Border and Non-Border Contexts

This research aims to describe and explain alcohol use patterns and related problems among Mexican-origin adults living in three pairs of sister metropolitan areas at the Texas-Mexico border, plus, as a contrast, in one adjacent non-border metropolitan area on each side of the border.

Importance of Alcohol-Programming Outreach to Women of Color (2014)

Very few national studies have examined racial and ethnic disparities in utilization of alcohol services. Little is known about whether racial and ...

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