Alcohol consumption among university students: a Sino-German comparison demonstrates a much lower consumption of alcohol in Chinese students
Past research on alcohol consumption patterns comparing Chinese and Caucasians indicates that significant group differences exist. Chinese, as a group, consume significantly less alcohol than their Caucasian counterparts. Explanations for these differences have been controversial. Some argue that it is due to cultural differences, whereas others contend that it is because of physiological differences. The present study explores this controversy using a new approach: model testing via path analysis. With a sample size of 178 Canadian Chinese and 161 Caucasian university students, the present study found that in both ethnic groups, cultural norms rather than physical symptoms were a significant predictor of alcohol consumption patterns. This finding strongly suggests that alcohol consumption behavior can be better understood by a social/psychological rather than a biomedical approach. To effect changes in alcohol assumption patterns, it is suggested that cultural interpretations of alcohol use should be examined.