The Association between Cultural Orientation and Drinking Behaviors among University Students in Wuhan, China.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 01/2013; 8(1):e54796. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054796
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examines the association between cultural orientation and drinking behaviors among university students. Cultural orientation is the measure of how the cultural values of individuals living in their own society are influenced by cultural values introduced from the outside.
In 2011, a cross-sectional survey collected data from 1279 university students from six universities in central China. Participants used a likert scale to rank a series of statements reflecting cultural values from the previously validated Chinese Cultural Orientation Scale and answered questions about their drinking behaviors and socio-demographic characteristics.
Statistically significant differences in cultural orientation were observed for gender, hometown and type of university attendance. Traditional-oriented students were more likely to be occasional drinkers or nondrinkers, while marginal-oriented students, bicultural-oriented students and western-oriented students were more likely to be regular drinkers. Bicultural orientation (OR = 1.80, P<0.05) and marginal orientation (OR = 1.64, P<0.05) increased the likelihood of the student being regular drinking, compared to students with traditional orientations. Males (OR = 4.40, P<0.05) had a higher likelihood of regular drinking than females, graduate students (OR = 2.59, P<0.05) had a higher likelihood of regular drinking than undergraduates, students from urban areas (OR = 1.79, P<0.05) had a higher likelihood of regular drinking than those from towns/rural areas, and students attending key universities (OR = 0.48, P<0.05) had a lower likelihood of regular drinking than those attending general universities.
Cultural orientation influences drinking behaviors. Traditional cultural orientation was associated with less drinking while western cultural orientation, marginal cultural orientation and bicultural orientation were associated with more drinking. The role of gender, hometown and university attendance is partially moderated through the influence of cultural orientation. The relationship between a traditional cultural orientation and alcohol drinking suggests that traditional Chinese cultural values should be examined for their role in possibly reducing alcohol-related risks through education and policy initiatives.

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