Exploring Factors Influencing the Decision to Drink among Native Americans

Ashley M. Loving, University of Washington

Although Native Americans are frequently the subject of studies involving alcohol, current research rarely relies on quantitative analyses from large, nationally representative data and often focuses on alcohol misuse rather than factors influencing drinking decisions. Using Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), I examine the current drinking status (lifetime abstainer, former drinker, or current drinker) of 513 Native American respondents. After establishing that Native Americans are significantly more likely to report instances of adverse childhood experiences and dysfunction in their childhood homes than other ethnic groups, I treat these variables as risk factors for current drinking, with enculturative factors and close social ties as protective factors. Results indicate that current drinkers are more likely to have suffered through adverse childhood experiences than lifetime abstainers, while preferences for a native language and Native American peers increase the likelihood of being a lifetime abstainer.

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Presented in Poster Session 7