Abstract: Universal Denial of a Problem or Prosocial Drinking Culture: Is There Social Justice in Social Work Interventions with Immigrant Filipinx Millennials? (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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171P Universal Denial of a Problem or Prosocial Drinking Culture: Is There Social Justice in Social Work Interventions with Immigrant Filipinx Millennials?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Ronna Banada, MSW, LCSW, Doctoral student, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Ann-Marie Yamada, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Southern California, CA
Background and Purpose: Although research suggests alcohol use is not particularly problematic for Asian Americans, heavy drinking of large quantities of alcohol in one day has been identified as a behavioral health problem when data for Asian subgroups is disaggregated. Filipinx American millennials are one such subgroup identified in research studies as at-risk for a myriad of problems related to their drinking behaviors. Yet, the classification of alcohol use as a problem in need of a solution has not been documented by data from first-hand accounts of Filipinx Americans who report engaging in heavy drinking and there is very limited research evidence that social workers could draw on to develop culturally responsive interventions. The purpose of this exploratory study is to develop strategies to elicit personal perspectives and to characterize the views of immigrant Filipinx millennials on their alcohol drinking behaviors. The focus on millennials is supported by empirical research on youth drinking and developmental theory (i.e. Erickson’s development stage of early adulthood).

Methods: Two focus groups (one each for self-identified males and females) and three in-depth, semi-structured follow-up interviews were conducted by a Filipina researcher. A Filipino research assistant recruited 12 self-identified Filipinx participants between the ages of 21 and 35 years, born in the Philippines, and who reported drinking one or more alcoholic beverages with Filipino friends in the past six months. A snowball sampling technique, beginning with participants working in a Filipinx grocery store, resulted in a sample of individuals who knew many of the other participants. Participants were 42% female, strongly self-identified as Filipino, primarily emigrating from Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Philippines. Content from the groups and interviews were transcribed verbatim and data were analyzed using a thematic analytic approach based on grounded theory.

Results: Despite the potential limitations of this recruitment strategy, we were able to capitalize on the opportunity to explore various approaches to elicit opinions. Main findings revealed that drinking behaviors among first-generation Filipinx millennials in this study showed a strong association with seeking social acceptance and identity formation rather than problematic behavior Three salient themes were: 1) Communal practices of group drinking, 2) a desire towards social acceptance, and 3) connectedness among group members.

Conclusion and Implications: Findings suggest that alcohol consumption is viewed by participants during this phase of development as normative and culturally-ingrained. Implications include the necessity of using culturally-informed and culturally appropriate interventions that go beyond the Abstinence Model. This study highlights the potential benefits to approaches like the Harm Reduction Model that would help individuals recognize the prosocial aspects of their drinking culture, while creating an alternative way of understanding how these cultural practices may also lead to heavy or risky alcohol use. By acknowledging the cultural views of Filipinxs, social work science could advance the needs of one of the largest Asian populations in the United States.