African-American Women's Health and Social Issues

By Catherine Fisher Collins | Go to book overview

Guidelines and Norms . The community must support the development of practices, norms, and guidelines about alcohol use that are gender-specific. Currently, women often determine their behavior patterns by copying, mimicking, or shadowing the behavior of men, assuming that male drinking styles are appropriate and that shadowing their behavior will meet their needs.

External resources must include family, community, and agency approaches to the issues of African-American women. The community must position itself to make realistic, appropriate demands on African-American women and to provide resources for African-American women to respond to demands in healthy ways. Alcohol abuse must be targeted as an unhealthy response to stress and viewed as a mechanism that will exacerbate rather than alleviate whatever stress African-American women may be experiencing.


CONCLUSION

In the stress-distress model of alcohol abuse, African-American women experience greater demands (internal and external) and fewer resources (internal and external) than their white counterparts. The magnitude of the equation imbalance between demands and resources places them at greater risk for self-destructive behavior--in this case, alcoholism. To bring this equation into balance, or to at least make it more manageable for African-American women, strategies must be developed that approach the equation from individual, community, and institutional approaches. African-American women must be strengthened to individually challenge the demands placed on them, and remain in a resource development mode to address those demands rather than shifting to a pain-relief mode. Communities must also examine how they contribute to the equation imbalance by making unreasonable demands and providing inadequate resources to meet those demands. Agencies and institutions must insure that their services are truly resources and do not add to the demand side of the equation. Thus, African-American women themselves, their community, and service agencies must all work to insure that the demands and resources for African-American women remain balanced, thereby reducing the risk of self-destructive behavior in the form of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.


WORKS CITED

Adams J. D. (Ed.) ( 1980). Understanding and Managing Stress: A Book of Readings. San Diego: University Associates.

Amaro H., Beckman L. J. & Mays V. M. ( 1987). "A comparison of black and"

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