Cultural Beliefs In Addiction

Cultural differences are among the most powerful determinants of the patterns of substance use and the proclivity to addiction (Heath, 1982). For example, moderate drinking is inculcated as an early and firm cultural style among Mediterranean ethnic groups, the Jews and the Chinese. Such cultural socialization incorporates beliefs about the power of Alcohol and the nature of those who overindulge or misbehave when drinking. Groups such as the Irish, which invest alcohol with the power to control and corrupt their behavior, have high levels of Alcoholism (Vaillant, 1983). In contrast, Jews, Italians, and Chinese believe that those who overdrink are displaying poor self-control and/or psychological dependence, rather than responding to the power of the alcohol itself (Glas-sner & Berg, 1984). Similar cultural variations occur in views toward drugs such as Marijuana,

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