“Culture of Drinking” and Individual Problems with Alcohol Use

Division of Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, Berkeley, CA 94720-7358, USA.
American journal of epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 06/2008; 167(9):1041-9. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwn022
Source: PubMed


Binge drinking is a substantial and growing health problem. Community norms about drinking and drunkenness may influence individual drinking problems. Using data from the New York Social Environment Study (n = 4,000) conducted in 2005, the authors examined the relation between aspects of the neighborhood drinking culture and individual alcohol use. They applied methods to address social stratification and social selection, both of which are challenges to interpreting neighborhood research. In adjusted models, permissive neighborhood drinking norms were associated with moderate drinking (odds ratio (OR) = 1.28, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.05, 1.55) but not binge drinking; however, social network and individual drinking norms accounted for this association. By contrast, permissive neighborhood drunkenness norms were associated with more moderate drinking (OR = 1.20, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.39) and binge drinking (OR = 1.92, 95% CI: 1.44, 2.56); the binge drinking association remained after adjustment for social network and individual drunkenness norms (OR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.20, 2.08). Drunkenness norms were more strongly associated with binge drinking for women than for men (p(interaction) = 0.006). Propensity distributions and adjustment for drinking history suggested that social stratification and social selection, respectively, were not plausible explanations for the observed results. Analyses that consider social and structural factors that shape harmful drinking may inform efforts targeting the problematic aspects of alcohol consumption.

Download full-text


Available from: Jennifer Ahern,
    • "Mental health status, knowledge of drug regimen, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarette were not statistically significantly associated with utilization of psychosocial services. However, studies have shown that unhealthy behaviors ranging from smoking, over-eating, drug use and binge drinking may be normalized in the context of social network relationships and norm establishment.[323334] More research on the influence of social networks in creating and changing sexual behavioral norms is critical. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Belonging to a social network group may influence a person's decisions to engage in desired behavior. The objective of our study was to determine factors associated with utilization of psychosocial group services among people living with human immunodeficiency virus acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (PLWHAs) in a Teaching Hospital in Sagamu, Southwestern Nigeria. This was an analytical cross-sectional study. All consenting PLHAs who attended the anti-retroviral clinic (ART) clinic during the study period were recruited into the study. A structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect relevant information and a total of 205 PLWHAs were interviewed. The data analysis focused on univariate frequency table and bivariate cross tabulations that identify important relationships between the variables. Odds ratio (OR) at 95% confidence level (CI) and Chi-squared and t-tests were also computed. The overall point utilization of psychosocial services among the PLWHAs was 23.4%. Utilization of psychosocial services was statistically significantly associated with religion (χ(2) = 11.74, P = 0.003), disclosure of human immunodeficiency virus status (χ(2) = 9.18, P = 0.01) and satisfactory self-reported health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) (χ(2) = 5.67, P = 0.017) while sex (χ(2) = 0.02, P = 0.96), education (χ(2) = 4.67, P = 0.32) tribe (χ(2) = 1.46, P = 0.48) adherence to ART drugs (χ(2) = 0.44, P = 0.51), mental health status (χ(2) = 0.64, P = 0.42) and occupation (χ(2) = 3.61, P = 0.61) were not. The only predictor of utilization of psychosocial group services was religion (OR = 0.44, CI = 0.23-0.84). This study shows the effectiveness of the psychosocial networks group in improving the overall HRQOL of the PLWHAs.
    Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 07/2013; 2(3):238-43. DOI:10.4103/2249-4863.120725
  • Source
    • "This finding may be explained partly by the quality of community cohesion, i.e., interacting with negative social norms, or not accounting for the 5–7 years time gap between exposure and outcome and youth moving, such that youth might be moving to other neighborhoods with lower support. A study of health risk behaviors (Ahern et al. 2008) found that strong neighborhood cohesion was not associated with positive health outcomes if the neighborhood's social norms promoted unhealthy behavior. A similar phenomenon may exist here, but requires further examination. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Several studies across fields have documented the detrimental effects of exposure to violence and, separately, the power of developmental assets to promote positive youth development. However, few have examined the lives of youth exposed to violence who demonstrate resilience (that is, positive adjustment despite risk), and hardly any have examined how developmental assets may shape resilient trajectories into adulthood for youth exposed to violence. What are these resources and relationships that high-risk youth can leverage to tip the balance from vulnerability in favor of resilience? We used generalized estimating equations to examine multilevel longitudinal data from 1,114 youth of ages 11-16 from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Behavioral adaptation was a dynamic process that varied over time and by level of violence exposure. In the short term, being a victim was associated with increased aggression and delinquency. In the long term though, both victims and witnesses to violence had higher odds of behavioral adaptation. Baseline family support and family boundaries, friend support, neighborhood support, and collective efficacy had positive main effects for all youth. Additionally, having family support, positive peers, and meaningful opportunities for participation modified the effect of exposure to violence and increased odds of behavioral adaptation over time. Policies, systems, and programs across sectors should focus on building caring relationships/supports with family members and friends, positive peers, and meaningful opportunities especially for witnesses and victims of violence, to promote behavioral resilience and related outcomes into adulthood for high-risk youth.
    Prevention Science 02/2013; 14(6). DOI:10.1007/s11121-012-0344-8 · 2.63 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Earlier studies have shown that alcohol use of individuals depends on the norm toward alcohol use in the social environment (Galea et al., 2004), including the neighborhood (Ahern et al., 2008). In the Netherlands, the social norm toward the use of alcohol traditionally varied between regions with different religious domination (Mulder, 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Evidence on associations of alcohol use with neighborhood disorder and social cohesion is limited. The aim of this study was to further investigate these associations. Individual data of 14,258 Dutch adults, living in 1546 neighborhoods across the Netherlands, were obtained from the 2006 to 2009 national health survey (POLS). Data on neighborhood disorder and social cohesion were derived from the 2006 Netherlands Housing Research (WoON). Hazardous drinking was measured as: ≥14, ≥21, and ≥28 drinks/week for women, and ≥21, ≥28, and ≥35 for men. Multilevel logistic regression models were adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, education, income, wealth, predominant neighborhood religion, and population density. Potential mediation of psychological distress (depression and anxiety) and general mental health (MHI-5 score) was tested. High neighborhood disorder was associated with more hazardous alcohol use for women (OR cut-off 3: 3.72 [2.03-6.83]), but not for men (OR cut-off 3: 1.08 [0.72-1.62]). There was no mediation by psychological distress, and modest mediation by general mental health. Social cohesion had no linear association with hazardous alcohol use, but for males moderate social cohesion was associated with more hazardous alcohol use (OR cut-off 1: 1.29 [1.08-1.53]). In predominantly Protestant neighborhoods this association seemed weaker. Hazardous alcohol use seems to have a stronger and more consistent relationship with neighborhood disorder than with social cohesion. This suggests that negative aspects of the social environment have more impact on the prevalence of hazardous alcohol use than positive factors related to sociability and support.
    Drug and alcohol dependence 05/2012; 126(1-2):27-34. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.04.008 · 3.42 Impact Factor
Show more