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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Convergence of Drinking Patterns of Young Russian Immigrants and Veteran Israelis Decades After Mass Immigration: Results From a Bidirectional Acculturation Model

Studying drinking patterns in relation to immigration processes is important for reaching a better understanding of changes in drinking habits in host as well as immigrant populations. Research based on assimilation models has previously noted that immigration may affect minority drinking patterns but has failed to acknowledge the possibility that immigration may change the host drinking patterns. The current study applies a bidirectional acculturation model to analyze if, and in what ways, mass emigration from the former Soviet Union (fSU) to Israel may have influenced immigrant drinking habits as well as the drinking patterns of veteran Israelis.

A cross-sectional pooled nationally representative stratified simple random sample of the young Israeli Jewish adult population (ages 21–40 years) from 2004 and 2009 was used (n = 1,357; women = 52.7%). Logistic regression examined differences in drinking patterns and differences over time between fSU immigrants and veteran Israelis.

There has been a convergence in moderate drinking habits between the two populations, and this convergence is attributed to increases in veteran Israeli moderate drinking over time but not to decreases in fSU immigrant drinking habits. Results also show that heavy drinking is increasing among veteran Israelis but that fSU immigrants continue to drink more heavily and to be more likely to prefer distilled spirits than veteran Israelis.

A bidirectional acculturation model may be more appropriate than assimilation models for the study of immigrant drinking patterns because it acknowledges the possibility of changes in immigrant as well as host drinking customs.

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