A culturally adapted intervention could reduce unhealthy drinking among Latino immigrants, according to researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health.
Binge drinking among Latino men was a common and culturally accepted way to help relieve immigration-related stress, said the researchers, led by Dr. India Ornelas, assistant professor of health services. Men had limited knowledge about how to change their behavior, but were open to receiving brief interventions in community settings.
The research, published recently in the journal Substance Abuse, was based on 18 interviews with Latino day laborers in Seattle and 13 interviews with mental health and substance abuse providers. Findings were used to design Vida PURA, an adaption of a screening and brief intervention typically done in a primary care setting.
Dr. Ornelas recently received a three-year $430,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to test the intervention in a randomized study at a day labor workers’ center in Seattle. She will work with Casa Latina, a Seattle-based nonprofit that provides educational and economic opportunities to Latinos.
“We’re having a health worker do it instead of a physician and trying to incorporate some of the social and cultural context the laborers are facing,” Dr. Ornelas said. “We give them personalized feedback because many of them don’t even know their levels are unhealthy, how it might affect their ability to work, and at the end, we help the man make a goal about reducing the drinking.”
Goals can be as simple as a man carrying a picture of his daughter in a wallet before he goes to buy a six pack. “It reminds him of how his drinking might affect his relationship with his family,” Dr. Ornelas said. “We’re trying to empower men to live a life with less alcohol use.”