University of Maryland University College Multicultural Factors in Alcoholism Discussion
1) The significance of multicultural factors play an important role in relation to treatment for alcohol use disorder. The socialization of alcohol in a culture communicates a person’s attitude, expectations, and intentions starting in childhood. Parents and other family members are an important factor because it’s how you are influenced and have grown up to view alcohol. I think drinking experiences in a family environment can introduce safe behaviors regarding its use. A good question to ask is at what age a person had their first drink. Looking at the processes of socialization to alcohol in the two different drinking cultures, Italy and Finland, show the diverse experiences and different meanings. Also, in different generations drinking cultures can change which affect the trend of drinking patterns. Italy is one of the countries that developed a so-called ‘Mediterranean drinking culture’, where alcohol is appreciated and apart of normal everyday life. The country Finland is an example of a Nordic drinking culture, where alcohol is connected to intoxication and not apart of normal daily life. Ronaldo, Beccaria, Tigerstedt, and Törrönen (2012), found in Mediterranean countries children are allowed to taste alcoholic beverages from a young age, Nordic tradition alcohol is considered dangerous and kept away from children and adolescents. The drinking culture in Finland seems to avoid treatment for alcohol use disorders because of the norm for alcohol to be connected with intoxication. The race/ethnicity of a person can sometimes play a role in viewing the cultural values that communicate their way of treatment or prevention for alcohol us disorder. As noted by Shih, Miles, Tucker, Zhou, and D’Amico (2012), interventions focusing on strong family bonds “familism” help younger adolescents resist peer pressure and have realistic expectations about alcohol. In the developmental period of a child’s life, familism helps to lessen the chances of alcohol initiation
2) Understanding one’s cultural upbringing can play important factor in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. To be most effective, treatment should be individualized and not generalized across the entire population.
Shih, Miles, Tucker, Zhou, and D’Amico (2012) state that cultural values such as parental respect can impact the likelihood of adolescent initiation of alcohol use. Asians and whites were noted as being most protective against alcohol initiation in regard to parental respect. Clinicians can investigate their patient’s relationship with their parents and use that information to help build a treatment plan.
Cultural geography can also play a role in the diagnosis and treatment of alcohol abuse. For example, Rolando, Beccaria, Tigerstedt, and Törrönen (2012) state that Italians are introduced gradually to alcohol and experiences with alcohol are typically linked to positive experiences. In contrast, the authors state that the Finnish associate alcohol with intoxication. Clinicians can take this knowledge into account when developing treatment plans.
In my case, I was born to an Italian father and Asian mother. Parental respect was a driving force in their childhood and that carried into my own. While we had our disagreements like any family does, I always treated my parents with respect and have maintained an excellent relationship with them. My mother would rarely drink, but my father would always have a drink with dinner, and we would have good conversations over dinner as I grew older. Given that I would consider myself no more than a social drinker, my personal experience seems to align with the research mentioned previously.
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