Alcohol Abuse among Hispanics Hispanics are the largest and most rapidly growing ethnic group in the United States, making up about 17 percent of the population, or more than 50 million people. Research shows that drinking patterns among Hispanics are different from those of non-Hispanic Whites and other ethnic or racial groups (National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2015). Hispanics’ drinking problem is associated with low socioecomic status such as poverty and low education, acculturation, familism, gender differentiation, social act, morality, ethnic heterogeneity, and cumulative advantage to mention a few.
As an existing social condition, low socioeconomic status is associated with unhealthy behaviors or lifestyles among Hispanics. For men, excessive drinking was more prevalent in the lowest educational group. For women, no significant relation between educational level and prevalence of excessive drinking was found. Moreover, an education level has been found to have an impact on the risk of alcohol abuse; and their education level may have some influence on those who abuse alcohol; in addition, there is a strong association between poverty and alcohol abuse.
Those who are unemployed, particularly long term unemployed, in poor or insecure housing have a higher rate of substance abuse (DARA, 2016). These existing social conditions affect Hispanics tremendously, as they move across horizontally on the socioeconomic line. Additionally, among Hispanics, acculturation is significantly associated with health-related behaviors. During the acculturation process, individuals are thought to relinquish the behavioral norms of their culture of origin while adopting those of another (Journal of Health Care for the Poor and
Underserved, 2002). Moreover, familism values are considered core cultural values for Hispanics that are transmitted from generation to generation through socialization strategies and interactions that parents have with their children, as so does the drinking problem. For example, familial obligations; support and emotional closeness; and referent (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Most alcoholics are men, but the incidence of alcoholism in women has been increasing over the past 30 years.
Even though Hispanics are raised among alcohol as a part of their beverages, they tend to not let that interfere with the family responsibilities. (Psycho Social Issues, 2003). Some of the biases that being a Hispanic father and Head of Household is that they work too much and spend their leisure time watching so and drinking. Yet, what most people fail to understand is that soccer and drinking are a part of the Hispanic culture, it is a norm, a way of life, and that it is accepted in the culture.
The problem with drinking doesn’t come overnight, it is a problem that it is passed on from one generation to the next over many years. Alcohol is always present at family reunions, children’s birthday parties, weddings, quinceaneras, baptisms, and other social gatherings. On the other hand, the focus on gender is found subject of addiction in Hispanic communities. The traditional culture across Hispanic countries, explains the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, frowns on women imbibing alcoholic beverages in casual or social settings (consuming alcohol in small family gathering is acceptable).
Hispanic men, on the other hand, face no such restrictions; conversely, women are expected to abstain from consuming alcoholic beverages. However, as a result of globalization more women, particularly younger ones with higher educational attainment, are drinking and consequently, some of them are experiencing problems due to this practice. In addition, women in Hispanic culture are highly respected but they are still treated as second class citizens. The mother and grandmother are viewed as the homemaker even if they may work. They are ever view as independent but must consult with their husbands when making any important decisions. The daughters are taught that they must always respect their male mate. The Hispanic heritage is rich in tradition of machismo. It is important for women, no matter how much education they receive, to be sub servant to the male (Psycho Social Issues, 2003). In more recent years due to the globalization, according to Alcoholism Statistics, children who are raised in families where one or both parents are alcoholics have a greater chance of becoming addicted to alcohol themselves at some time in their life.
Underage drinking is part of the culture, and it is not unusual to see young people drink at family gatherings and other celebrations. In Latin countries, the government traditionally has not had strong policies enforcing alcohol control laws such as legal drinking age, hours of sale, and the number of alcohol outlets in communities (Alcohol Use Disorder among Hispanic National Groups in the U. S. , 2014). The increased accessibility of alcohol could therefore also lead to an earlier age at first drink; in addition to what children are already observing at home.
I can attest that in Mexico there is no law enforcement, as it pertains to underage drinking. Anyone can purchase alcohol at your local neighbor’s store, which is typically a home; and there are no regulated business hours. Many adolescents begin drinking because they are also following their parents’ footsteps and because it is an acceptable way of life in the culture they are growing in. Morality in the Latino culture is the cornerstone that holds that culture together.
The Latino culture is rich with religious devotion and believes that God and his laws are the ultimate authority. The children in Latino families are taught young that they are to obey their parents and respecting their rules. However, in a Mexican Culture, it is difficult for parents to raise their children alone, any issue that arises is dealt with at a family level, meaning that everyone surrounding the family has a say in how a particular situation is to be dealt with.
Moreover, morality is thought at the parents convenience because parents now that their children are being disobedient and are users of alcohol or other substances and rather than taking care of business, they allow for such behaviors. Social Inequalities 1 – Ethnic Heterogeneity: Among Latinos, there is higher prevalence of drinking and alcohol use disorders among Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, particularly as compared with Cubans (NCBI, 2014). After reading many articles and doing research for this assignment, I became aware that many cultures try to live to the standards of an American Culture that is diversified among many ethnicity groups.
The Mexican American Culture is relatively close to the Mexican Culture in that social drinking becomes a disorder because many can’t control it, and over time the drinking becomes a problem. Social Inequalities 2 – Cumulative Advantage: Socioeconomic status differences may result in part from unhealthy lifestyle choices, which have become increasingly concentrated among low status groups. Their health problems involve something other than the inability to purchase healthpromoting goods; they involve the purchase of harmful consumer products.
High tobacco use among those with low education, occupational status, and income serves as a prime example of the adoption of self-destructive habits by deprived groups. Other lifestyle choices involving poor diet, excess alcohol, and inactivity also likely contribute to socioeconomic status differences in health and longevity (Blacks and Hispanics reported greater exposure to social disadvantage than whites, including greater poverty, unfair treatment, racial/ethnic stigma, and cumulative disadvantage.
In all three racial/ethnic groups, exposure to disadvantage was associated with problem drinking. Frequent unfair treatment, high racial stigma (among minorities), and multiple sources of extreme disadvantage corresponded to a twofold to sixfold greater risk of alcohol problems, partially explained by psychological distress (Greenfeld, 2008).