A study of immigrant Hispanic alcoholics in a treatment program
Grossman, Rosalie G.
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This study focuses on the effects of immigration and acculturation on the alcoholism problems of Hispanics, and on the relationship between cultural attitudes about drinking and involvement in treatment for alcoholism. The first hypothesis was that the stresses of immigration and acculturation to the mainland of the United States contribute to an exacerbation of drinking problems in Hispanics. The second was that culturally based beliefs about drinking and alcoholism influence Hispanics' attitudes about seeking treatment for alcoholism.;The subjects of this research were 102 Hispanic immigrants who were admitted to an alcoholism treatment program during a seven month period. The data was collected by use of a structured, face-to-face interview, in English or Spanish, with both fixed-response and open-ended items. The research instrument collected information on: immigration experiences, levels of acculturation, alcoholism-related problems before and after immigration, attitudes about drinking, and experience with alcoholism treatment.;The first hypothesis was supported in that a significant correlation was demonstrated between several aspects of the immigration-acculturation experience and exacerbation of alcohol problems after immigration. The most significant finding was that those subjects who had the highest levels of acculturation also had the highest levels of exacerbation of alcohol-related problems. The findings indicated that the age of immigration and length of residence of the subjects in the United States had the strongest impact on acculturation.;The second hypothesis, that cultural beliefs about drinking and alcoholism influence Hispanics' motivation to seek treatment for alcoholism was not supported by this research. There were no significant differences between the attitudes towards drinking of subjects with a variety of treatment experiences and levels of motivation. It was found that as both age and level of alcoholism problems increase, attitudes become less permissive regarding drinking. The study also demonstrated that the level of alcohol-related problems has the strongest impact on motivation for treatment. Comparisons of these findings suggest significant differences in attitudes about drinking between Hispanic alcoholics and non-alcoholics and between male and female alcoholics.