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Gender Differences in the Drinking Patterns of American and Hong Kong Adolescents

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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Semi-structured interviews were conducted among approximately 100 high school students each in Hong Kong and one small mid-western town in the United States. We intended 1) to examine differences between the two cultures in sociocultural factors affecting the students' first drinking experience, their drinking levels, and definitions of alcohol use; and 2) to see whether gender, differences in addition to cultural differences, influence the above variables and associations among these variables. As expected, American adolescents are more likely than Hong Kong adolescents to drink, to drink more frequently, and to drink higher quantities. Hong Kong adolescents tended to take their first drink earlier than U.S. adolescents. However, an association between early and later drinking present in the U.S. sample, was not found in the Hong Kong one. Definitions of alcohol use were influential in determining drinking levels. The data also show that gender differences in drinking levels and the social processes leading to alcohol use are more pronounced in the U.S. than in Hong Kong.

Affiliations: 1: University of Akron, Department of Sociology, Akron, OH 44325-1905, U.S.A.; 2: Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of Alabama


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