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Chinese in the United States: An Extension of Moderation in Drinking

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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Our initial study compared drinking patterns among high-school students from three cultural groups (Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong, adolescents of Chinese origin living in Chicago, American adolescents in the United States). While the present study focuses on one group, Chinese-Americans, it devotes some effort to comparing this group's drinking patterns to those of Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong, and those of adolescents generally in the United States. We hypothesize that the acculturation status of Chinese-American students (indicated by an index developed in the study and by other acculturation factors defined later) is related to their drinking status. We also hypothesize that, in addition to its role in whether or not these adolescents drink, acculturation helps determine how much they drink. Specifically, the study sought to evaluate whether data support one of three acculturation hypotheses (simple acculturation, damaging culture, and acculturation stress hypotheses). An acculturation index was constructed based on the variables residence, place of birth, language used at home, language used with friends, friends' nationality, and movie preferences. Other relevant acculturation factors included the number of years that respondents lived in the United States, the number of years that their friends lived in the United States, and the number of movies rented in a month in Chinatown. The results did not support any one of the three acculturation hypotheses. Adolescents of Chinese origin living in the United States were less likely to be drinkers than adolescents from the other two cultures (Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong and American adolescents in the United States), and they tended to conform to drinking practices found in Hong Kong. Mixed results were found between acculturation factors and drinking levels. Modification of existing acculturation ideas were needed to explain drinking patterns among Chinese-American adolescents.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, University of Akron, USA; 2: Department of Sociology, University of Alabama, USA.


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