Filipino Americans (Fil-Ams) are currently the second largest Asian and Pacific Islander (API) American group in the United States. Despite this, they are among the most underrepresented ethnic groups in alcohol research. Across disciplines, the majority of API research samples have been composed primarily of individuals of East Asian backgrounds (David &Okazaki, 2006), and the experiences of these individuals may mistakenly be generalized to other APIs. The broad objective of the proposed research then is to examine the etiology of alcohol use and related problems in Filipino-American young adults. Compared to other APIs, Fil- Ams are a suspected-at-risk group for problematic alcohol use (Nadal, 2000;Wong, Klingle &Price, 2004;Lum et al., 2002). A potential risk factor for this population is the experience of discrimination, which has been associated with alcohol dependence in APIs as a whole. Fil-Ams report experiencing discrimination at higher rates than other APIs and comparable to African-Americans (Gee et al., 2007;Kuo, 1995), and it has been hypothesized that alcohol use is a means to cope with discrimination. Ethnic identity, the ecoursewxtent to which one identifies with his/her ethnic group, may impact the relationship that discrimination has on health outcomes, including alcohol use. The proposed research will examine the extent to which Fil-Ams use alcohol to cope with discrimination, and whether or not ethnic identity is related to this process. To ensure the research will address community needs, a community advisor board (CAB) will be formed at the start of the project. The CAB will give feedback on the study questions, design, measures, and results throughout the duration of the project.
The specific aims are as follows: (1) develop measures for ethnic identity and discrimination that accurately assess experiences that are unique to Fil-Ams;(2) pilot test the new measures for validity and reliability;(3) assess the relationship between discrimination, coping, and alcohol use;and (4) assess the role of ethnic identity as a potential moderator in the relationship between discrimination, coping, and alcohol use. To accomplish Aim 1, in person focus groups will be conducted to gather preliminary information on ethnic identity and discrimination experiences of Fil-Ams. Measures will then be created based on focus group discussions and pilot tested for validity and reliability (Aim 2).
For Aims 3 -4, Fil-Am young adults will be recruied to complete a cross-sectional battery of online measures regarding alcohol use and related problems, discrimination, coping, and ethnic identity. The hypothesized relationships between these variables will then be evaluated. The research will address important knowledge gaps regarding the variability in alcohol use across specific API groups, and seeks to inform culturally-appropriate interventions for this population.
The proposed research project aims to meet the mission statement and strategic planning goals of the NIAAA by addressing the adverse effects from alcohol within a specific subgroup of ethnic minority populations and informing the design of future treatment and prevention programs. The current project utilizes a mixed-methods research approach to examine the role of discrimination and ethnic identity in the etiology of alcohol use and related problems in Filipino Americans, the second largest Asian American group in the United States. The award would also aid in the ethical, methodological, and clinical training and development of a promising new researcher to address the growing need for culturally-appropriate and community informed interventions for ethnic minority populations.
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