Abstract: Domestic Violence, Acculturation, and Alcohol Consumption: An Examination Four Asian Communities (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

78P Domestic Violence, Acculturation, and Alcohol Consumption: An Examination Four Asian Communities

Saturday, January 16, 2010
* noted as presenting author
Yeon-Shim Lee, PhD , San Francisco State University, Assistant Professor, san Francisco, CA
Purpose: Domestic violence (DV) and its negative health consequences have emerged as intersecting public health problems. Although substantial empirical research on DV has been conducted with Caucasians, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans, such progress has not been made in Asian American groups. In particular, Asian American families are often excluded from public debate on these issues, demonstrating a notable lack of attention to identifying related cultural, social, and health factors. This study examined interrelations between DV, imbalance in marital power, acculturative stress, and alcohol/drug use among Four Asian communities: Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, and other Asians.

Method: The samples were drawn from the National Latino and Asian American Study (2002-2003), a first nationally representative community epidemiological household survey of Latino and Asian American adults. This study used 1,470 married or cohabitating Asian American men and women, including Chinese (28.2%), Vietnamese (26.1%), Filipino (23.5%), and other Asians (22.2%). Participants were asked about the occurrence of 8 violent behaviors during the pat year, adapted from the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS). Separate analyses were conducted for minor and severe physical violence. Acculturation was assessed by nativity status, English proficiency, years in the United States, and age at time of immigration. Alcohol/drug use was measured by items such as “How often partner drinks/uses drugs too much.” Marital power/psychological domination was assessed using 5-items, including who had final say in major decisions. We computed prevalence rates for DV in the past year. Odds ratios were derived from a series of weighted logistic regression analyses.

Results: In the weighted samples, the incidences of minor partner violence in four Asian communities were 21.6%, whereas the incidences of severe violence were found to be 3.2% (any violence: 22.1%). As hypothesized, unequal marital power structure and psychological domination were strongly correlated with both minor and severe physical assault. Some ethnic differences were evident in domestic violence. Vietnamese (odd ratios=.56; p=.000) and Filipino Americans (OR=.85; p=.000) were less likely than Chinese Americans to report minor violence. However, they were more at risk for severe physical assault than were Chinese Americans: Vietnamese (OR=1.27; p=.000) and Filipino (OR= 1.22; p=.000). Asian Americans who were born in the U.S. and those with higher level of English proficiency were more likely to report minor, severe, and any physical violence. Although nearly 90% of participants were abstainers, those reporting a partner's frequent alcohol/drug use are almost 5 times more likely to report any violence than those without alcohol/drug use episodes.

Implications: Overall, the results from this study showed high rates of DV among Asian couples in the U.S. The findings of this study suggest the possibility that there are important sociocultural and contextual variables that may contribute to the interethnic differences in DV. Given the higher degree of domestic violence among more acculturated couples suggest the significance of interventions that target the increased stress, conflict, and anxiety associated with acculturation process. Furthermore, culturally competent services in health care are critical, particularly with an explicit commitment to conduct culturally appropriate assessments and interventions of health/mental health ramifications.