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Addict Behav. 2003 Jun;28(4):761-7.

The association of alcohol and family problems in a remote indigenous Australian community.

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  • 1School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, PMB 50, Gold Coast Mail Centre, Queensland, Australia.


While a large proportion of Aboriginal Australians do not consume alcohol, those who do frequently show severe alcohol problems. In European-derived samples, heavy alcohol use is associated with relationship distress, conflict, and violence. Because Aboriginal groups commonly have very different family structures, values, and obligations to European-derived families, the association of family and alcohol problems in Aboriginal Australians may be different from European-derived families. This self-report study is the first known published empirical study of family and alcohol problems among Aboriginal Australians. It involved 99 people from a remote community in the far North of Australia. The aims were to explore the association of family conflict, family cohesion, family independence, alcohol problems, and alcohol-related expectancies. Compared to those without alcohol problems, people with alcohol problems reported more family conflict and women with alcohol problems reported high family independence. Expectancies of negative affect change mediated the association of alcohol problems and family conflict. Family cohesion was unrelated to alcohol or family problems. Implications for detection of and interventions for alcohol and family problems are discussed.

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