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Review of Drinking Patterns of Rural Arab and Jewish Youth in the North of Israel

NCJ Number
Substance Use & Misuse Volume: 37 Issue: 5-7 Dated: 2002 Pages: 663-686
Shoshana Weiss D.Sc.
Date Published
14 pages
This article presents the results of four studies examining alcohol consumption patterns among rural Arab and Jewish youth.
All four studies focused on high school students aged 16 to 18 years. The Arab youth studied represented three religions -- Moslem, Druze, and Christianity -- and came from villages, Arab towns, and mixed Arab/Jewish towns. The Jewish youth came from kibbutzim and developing towns in north Israel. In 1990, the first epidemiological study focused on frequency of drinking during the previous month, and the amounts of alcohol consumed on a drinking occasion. In 1992, the study focused on preferred sources of support after acquiring a drinking problem, reasons for drinking, and the social context of drinking in the previous year. The 1994 study examined reasons for not drinking, preferred places of drinking, and ways of obtaining alcoholic beverages. The frequency of drinking in the last year, as well as amounts of alcohol consumed on a drinking occasion, were described in the 1996 study. The results indicate that adolescents were influenced by the changes in society. The young, rural population of Israel is subjected to influences from larger cities. They are living in a country undergoing rapid changes, including tensions between religious groups. The Arab population is in the process of transition from a traditional to a modern society. This transition process is influenced by Jewish society. Changes have occurred in several areas of life, including family, employment, the educational system, religion, and the form of social and political organization. New patterns exist alongside religious and social traditions resulting in social contradictions within Arab society, and between Arab and Jewish societies. The six factors that influence increased alcohol consumption by youth living in rural and urban communities of Israel are changes in the influence of religion, changes in the influence of family, increased contact with Jews, improved standard of living, alienation and political tension, and the absence of preventive mechanisms. Future research needs to confirm these trends and measure possible changes for future prevention and policy initiatives. 8 tables, 27 references