Alcohol use and related problems is an increasing concern in the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community. Available research has not yet examined the etiologies and outcomes of alcohol use and related problems in APIs who seek treatment. One promising approach that can be used to explore this empirical question is the stress and coping model proposed by Wills and Shiffman (1985). According to this model, individuals use substances for the purpose of coping with stress, as consumption of substances may reduce negative affect and increase positive affect. Although this model has demonstrated great utility in the general population, it may not be generalized to the Asian American population because: 1) Previous studies utilizing this model are based on samples that do not include an adequate number of Asian Americans;2) Key factors in the model may be shaped by culture. These changes may therefore affect the cross-cultural generalizability of the model. In the present study, we will address this issue by first testing the generalizability of the model among treatment-seeking Asian Americans and enhancing what is known in the original model by examining factors that are unique to this population (e.g., stress related to adapting to the U.S. culture). 200 treatment-seeking Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Chinese individuals will be recruited from the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, a community-based agency offering addictions treatment. Participants in this cross-sectional study will be interviewed about their alcohol use, experience with various types of stress, symptoms of depression and anxiety, somatic symptoms, and the ways in which they cope with stress. This approach to Asian American adults'alcohol use will lead to a greater understanding of the etiology and outcomes and offer important implications for the development of prevention and treatment for this population. This line of research may also provide initial evidence for significant relationships proposed in this present research, and warrants the need for a research program examining the stress and coping processes of alcohol use in Asian American adults. Through collaborating with a local organization, these goals are in line with NIAAA's mission in reducing alcohol-related problems in our community.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research has high relevance to public health because: 1) It examines factors associated with alcohol use and related problems among Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees, a high-need population due to their trauma experience, immigration history, and high rate of mental illness and substance abuse;2) Approximately 70% of the individuals entering treatment at the recruitment site are DWI offenders. The proposed study will offer important implications in developing prevention and intervention programs for this population, which may in turn help reduce alcohol-related motor vehicle crash deaths, a 2010 Health People Objective.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Health Services Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
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Fertig, Joanne
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University of Washington
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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