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Critical Steps to Developing a Unified Theory of Alcohol Use in Latin America

Holtzer, Caleb Christman (2007) Critical Steps to Developing a Unified Theory of Alcohol Use in Latin America. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Alcohol use is often characterized by health researchers and practitioners as a serious, chronic, and still growing public health problem in Latin America. Citing unambiguously disastrous health consequences due to alcohol consumption and the growing consumptive pressures of globalization, well meaning coalitions of public health practitioners, macro-economists, and policy makers at the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO) and international NGOs have urgently called for the implementation of supply side regulations to curb alcohol use in the developing world. This paper argues that there is a need to take a much more nuanced approach to alcohol interventions than those proposed by supply-side economists or policy makers in these institutions and that those interventions must be based on ethical, culturally centered research that aims to understand the mechanisms by which factors at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, and community levels interact as fundamental drivers of behavior. To that end, this paper develops a hybrid, unified model of alcohol use that can be used to guide future research initiatives. In the process literature relevant to alcohol consumption patterns written from multiple academic disciplines such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science and the study of economics are reviewed. To bridge these diverse perspectives and to link cognitive cultural perceptions with individual behavior, the conceptualization of cultural consonance in two domains, material lifestyle and social support, is introduced. Extending the model, the paper adds a new cultural domain of "indigenous identity" and two new constructs, consensus intensity and temporal stability, which imbue the framework with broader and stronger descriptive powers to better accommodate the rapidly shifting cultural domains likely to be found in the globalizing world. Implications of knowledge generated by the application of the new expanded model are discussed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Holtzer, Caleb
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDocumet, Patriciapdocumet@pitt.eduPDOCUMET
Committee MemberTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberNelson, Paulpjnelson@gspia.pitt.eduPJNELSON
Date: 26 June 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 6 April 2007
Approval Date: 26 June 2007
Submission Date: 10 April 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: alcohol; Latin America
Other ID:, etd-04102007-165926
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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