Genetics Behavioral Treatment Social Mediators and Prevention Current Concepts in Diagnosis

Volume 1 of the series Recent Developments in Alcoholism pp 255-261

Current Status of the Field: An Anthropological Perspective on the Behavior Modification Treatment of Alcoholism

  • David LevinsonAffiliated withHuman Relations Area Files, Department of Anthropology, Yale University

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This chapter discusses behavior modification treatment for alcoholism in terms of the potential influence of cultural factors on the treatment process. It is suggested that cultural factors may be an important determinant of treatment involvement and treatment success. Four categories of cultural factors are identified and discussed: (1) folk beliefs about the cause and treatment of illness; (2) beliefs about control of one’s behavior: (3) socialization techniques; and (4) acculturation. It is also suggested that behavior modification treatments, compared to other general treatments, do less harm to an individual’s cultural identity while, at the same time, they provide an opportunity for cultural factors to be used in the treatment selection process.