Immigration and Alcohol: Changes in patterns of use in Brazilian immigrants in the UK – modern immigration in the UK, from 2000

“Alcohol flows across cultures: Drinking cultures in transnational and comparative perspective”

International Research Symposium, St Anne’s College, Oxford, 29–30 June 2016

[Symposium Podcasts]


"Immigration and Alcohol: Changes in patterns of use in Brazilian immigrants in the UK – modern immigration in the UK"


Dr Martha Canfield

Addictions Department, King’s College London, UK


Evidence from previous research on alcohol in the UK has shown that patterns of alcohol are changing significantly amongst some members of immigrant and minority ethnic groups. In general, scholars agree that there are several contextual factors influencing immigrants to drink. Not much is known however about how and to what extend acculturative changes are influencing drink behaviours in immigrants and members of minority ethnic groups in the UK. The present study argue that such absence of information has been, in part, responsible for placing immigrants and members of minority ethnic groups at high vulnerability to a series of risky behaviours. This is particularly noticeable among communities like the Brazilians in the UK, which despite a salient presence in the cultural, social and economic scenarios in Britain, remain largely invisible to the views of policy makers and scholars. With this in mind, this study sought to investigate patterns of drinking in Brazilian immigrants in the UK.  The overarching aim was to explore the extent to which the process of acculturation to the UK is changing drinking behaviours in this migratory group. To explore this, a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was adopted in a cross-national research sample compromised of Brazilian participants residing in the UK (n=164) and Brazilian participants residing in Brazil (n=161). Initially, quantitative analysis was carried out to explore country differences in frequency and predictors of alcohol use. Qualitative analysis was carried out to explore in-depth complex issues related to social and cultural factors that underlie the susceptibility of Brazilian immigrants to drink. It was found that Brazilians who had immigrated to the UK showed an overall increase in the frequency with which they drink alcohol, including binge drinking. Such shifts were influenced by attitudes, values, and behavioural changes, and were strongly predicted by the stress caused by acculturation.



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