A Transnational Study of Migration, Alcohol Use and Concept of Alcohol Drinking Behaviors Among Chinese Migrants
Migration is a complex and stressful life changing event. Resettlement process can cause tremendous stress for Chinese migrants, due to the huge differences between China and New Zealand. Alcohol use behaviors among migrants are complex and likely influenced by many factors, including social normal, mental health and acculturation. The alcohol use trends among Chinese migrants may alter due to acculturation.
This research was conducted as a preliminary study to explore the factors that shape the alcohol consumption patterns, beliefs and the factors that could influence alcohol consumption related aspects from migration, acculturation and social adjustment amongst 12 Chinese migrants in New Zealand. A qualitative research design using one on one interviews and focus groups was utilized in this research. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data.
Results and conclusions
The study revealed Chinese migrants’ cultural norms, beliefs and attitudes towards the use of alcohol and the way they have been acculturated to a more westernized alcohol use pattern with widened choices of multicultural alcoholic beverages in New Zealand. However Chinese migrants still maintained some traditional Chinese alcohol use behaviors and alcohol integrated oriental and western alcohol use behaviors together in their alcohol use occasions in New Zealand.
Adapting to New Zealand alcohol use patterns in a problematic way, or using alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions or loss due to migration can lead to problematic alcohol use behaviors, e.g., driving under the influence of alcohol, heavy alcohol use.
The initial migration period, homestay and family living in New Zealand were identified as protective factors to prevent heavy alcohol consumption and risky alcohol use behaviors among Chinese migrants in New Zealand.
The research indicated further studies of alcohol use behaviors among Asian migrants are needed in New Zealand.