Academic journal article College Student Journal

Substance Use among Vietnamese American College Students

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Substance Use among Vietnamese American College Students

Article excerpt

Little is known about substance use among Vietnamese American College students. Previous studies showed that substance use is more prevalent among White, African-Americans and Hispanics, than in Asian Americans in the US. As a result, many believe that all Asian Americans can be classified as a low health risk group. This study examined the prevalence of substance use (cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana) and factors associated with substance use among Vietnamese American college students. Data were collected through a mail survey and a telephone survey. A total of 412 usable surveys were completed. The results of this study indicated that gender and degree of acculturation are significantly related to substance use. Vietnamese male students are more likely to use substance than are Vietnamese female students. Overall, acculturated Vietnamese American students were more likely to use substance (alcohol and Marijuana) than those less acculturated Vietnamese American students. However, cigarette smoking was not significantly related to acculturation among female students. Future studies should examine the gender differences in the acceptance and perception toward substance use.

Introduction

Many researchers have reported significant differences in the prevalence of substance use among various ethnic groups in the United States. A frequent finding reported in these studies is that substance use is more prevalent among White, African-Americans and Hispanics, than in Asian Americans in the US (Gillmore et al., 1990; Collins, 1993; O'Hare, 1995; Ellickson et al, 1996). As a result, many believe that substance use is not an important health issue for the Asian Americans population, and continue to uphold the stereotypical view that all Asian American can be classified as a low health risk group. Although this comparatively low rate of substance use exhibited by Asian Americans, may indeed be accurate for some subgroups of Asian Americans in the US, it may not be an accurate representation for all Asian ethnic groups (Ja and Aoki, 1993). The Asian-American population is a rather heterogeneous one, consisting of many different ethnic groups, each with its unique set of cultural standards, beliefs, values and traditions, hence with varied health risk behaviors. As such, it may not be appropriate to examine their life-style behaviors collectively, but rather to focus on the health behaviors of individual subgroups, to examine their patterns of alcohol and drug use, and to determine the extent to which this may represent an important health concern for that particular Asian ethnic sub-group. All Asian subgroups are usually lumped together under one single category, "Asians," thus making difficult the generalization of findings to all groups because there are some subgroup differences.

Furthermore, previous studies (Cho and Faulkner, 1993; Higuchi et al., 1994; Izuno et al., 1992; Zane and Sasao, 1992) on substance use among Asian- Americans raise a number of methodological problems that make it difficult to assess the prevalence and the factors associated with use among different Asian ethnic groups. These studies typically represent more acculturated groups like Chinese and Japanese. Absent from most of these studies are those who are at high risk such as immigrants, refugees, and economically marginalized. There is a need to know more about the people who do not fall into these groups. It is highly likely that they are significantly different in their rates of use and use patterns than those who do fall into these study groups and whose results get reported. Overall, adequate data and information about substance abuse by Asian Americans is scarce. This scarcity exists in part because a relatively small proportion of substance abuse resources have been allocated to research resigned for the understanding of Asian Americans and their problems associated with substance abuse. Also, information from national data sets is not automatically broken down by different racial and ethnic groups so that comparisons of substance use can be made different Asian and Americans. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.