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Hazardous Drinking, Alcohol Use Disorders, and Need for Treatment Among Pacific Islander Young Adults

Pacific Islanders (PI) have been found to be at a higher risk for adverse outcomes from alcohol consumption due to mental and physical health disparities. These disparities may stem from adverse colonization and historical trauma. The current study investigates alcohol use among PI young adults to look at hazardous drinking, possible AUDs, and alcohol related harms.

Participants for this study came from Samoans in urban Los Angeles County, California and Marshallese in rural Northwest Arkansas. Ages ranged from 18-30 and sex, education, and mental and physical help were also evaluated. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Concise (AUDIT-C) was used to assess alcohol use, hazardous drinking, and possible AUD. Measures also included cigarette and marijuana use, alcohol-related harms (social, physical health, home life, work, studies, and finances), and perceived need for treatment.

The final study included 156 PI participants and results showed 78% reported alcohol use, 53% reported cigarette use, and 54% reported marijuana use. 73 young adults reported dual alcohol-cigarette use and 47 reported alcohol-cigarette-marijuana use. 56% were identified as engaging in hazardous drinking while 44% reported to engage in heavy episodic drinking at least once per month. 40% said that alcohol use was causing harm with the most common being to physical health. While only 25% of participants reported past year need for substance use disorder treatment, the findings showed that experiencing an alcohol-related harm was associated with 4.7-13.2 greater odds for needing treatment. These findings highlight the need for culturally grounded interventions to help PI young adults understand and decrease hazardous drinking and alcohol-related harms.

Take Away: Pacific Islanders (PI) are at a higher risk for adverse outcomes from alcohol consumptions. The current study investigates alcohol use among PI young adults to look at hazardous drinking, possible AUDs, and alcohol related harms. Measures for this study included demographics, mental and physical health, alcohol use and harms, cigarette and marijuana use, and perceived need for treatment. The final study included 156 PI participants and results showed 78% reported alcohol use. 25% of participants reported past year need for substance use disorder treatment and findings showed experiencing an alcohol-related harm was associated with 4.7-13.2 greater odds for needing treatment. These findings highlight the need for culturally grounded interventions to help PI young adults understand and decrease hazardous drinking and alcohol-related harms.

Subica, A. M., Guerrero, E., Aitaoto, N., Moss, H. B., Iwamoto, D., & Wu, L. (2020). Hazardous drinking, alcohol use disorders, and need for treatment among Pacific Islander young adults. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. doi:10.1037/ort0000456

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