"This is the way we were raised": Alcohol beliefs and acculturation in relation to alcohol consumption among Native Americans

J Ethn Subst Abuse. Apr-Jun 2017;16(2):219-245. doi: 10.1080/15332640.2015.1133362. Epub 2016 Mar 15.


Native Americans have the highest rates of alcohol use in comparison to other ethnic groups, placing them at risk for experiencing alcohol-related problems. The present study examined the beliefs that some Native Americans may have related to alcohol use; specifically, the belief that alcohol is a key component in Native American cultures. To assess these beliefs, we developed the Stereotypical Alcohol Beliefs Scale for Native Americans (SABSNA). The new 20-item measure was administered to 144 individuals who identified as Native American along with a measure of acculturation and other drinking-related measures, including perceived norms, alcohol expectancies, and drinking motives. An exploratory factor analysis revealed that the measure is unidimensional in structure and has excellent internal consistency. SABSNA scores were found to be positively associated with typical week drinking, alcohol expectancies, and drinking motives (social, coping, enhancement, and conformity). Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that level of acculturation moderated the association between alcohol beliefs and weekly drinking. Native Americans who identified less with mainstream culture demonstrated a positive association between their cultural alcohol beliefs and their weekly drinking. The findings suggest that alcohol beliefs would be an appropriate additional target for interventions for individuals who are not oriented to the mainstream culture.

Keywords: Acculturation; Native Americans; alcohol beliefs; alcohol use; exploratory factor analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / ethnology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / ethnology
  • Young Adult