Reflections on a Proposed Theory of Reservation-Dwelling American Indian Alcohol Use: Comment on Spillane and Smith (2007)

American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, University of Colorado, Denver, Aurora, CO 80045 USA.
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 14.76). 04/2009; 135(2):339-43; discussion 344-6. DOI: 10.1037/a0014819
Source: PubMed


In their recent article, N. Spillane and G. Smith suggested that reservation-dwelling American Indians have higher rates of problem drinking than do either non-American Indians or those American Indians living in nonreservation settings. These authors further argued that problematic alcohol use patterns in reservation communities are due to the lack of contingencies between drinking and "standard life reinforcers" (SLRs), such as employment, housing, education, and health care. This comment presents evidence that these arguments were based on a partial review of the literature. Weaknesses in the application of SLR constructs to American Indian reservation communities are identified as is the need for culturally contextualized empirical evidence supporting this theory and its application. Cautionary notes are offered about the development of literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and policy recommendations for American Indian communities.

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