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Journal Article


Gonzalez VM, Bravo AJ, Crouch MC. Addict. Behav. 2019; 93: 78-85.


Department of Psychology, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, United States. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






Belief in an American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) specific biological vulnerability (BV) to alcohol problems (aka the "firewater myth") has been found to be associated with worse alcohol outcomes among AI/AN college students who drink, despite also being associated with greater attempts to reduce drinking. In the current study, we examined the associations of belief in a BV and belief that AI/AN people have more alcohol problems with the use of alcohol protective behavioral strategies (PBS) among AI/AN college students. PBS examined, as measured by the Protective Behavioral Strategies Scale-20, included manner of drinking, limiting/stopping drinking, and serious harm reduction strategies. Participants were college students who identified being AI/AN (n = 137) and had drank in the past month, and were selected from a larger multi-site study on PBS. Mediation models revealed that greater belief in a BV and belief that AI/AN people have more alcohol problems were both negatively associated with manner of drinking, which in turn was associated with greater past month alcohol use and alcohol consequences. These beliefs were not significantly associated with other PBS. Consistent with prior research with other student populations, both manner of drinking and limiting/stopping drinking were associated with less alcohol use and all three domains of PBS were directly associated with fewer alcohol consequences. The results suggest that these beliefs regarding AI/AN people and alcohol negatively affect the use of strategies aimed at avoiding drinking behavior that can lead to rapid drinking and a higher blood alcohol content, contributing to alcohol consequences.

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Language: en


Alaska Native; Alcohol; American Indian; Protective behavioral strategies; Stereotype


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