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Traditional family values and substance abuse
  1. L de la Fuente
  1. Centro Nacional de Epidemiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain

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    M Cuadrado, L Lieberman. Kluwer Academic Press, 2002.

    From the authors’ point of view the book examines the proposition that the differences found in substance use and misuse behaviour among Puerto Ricans living in the United States are based on adherence to a strong identity to Puerto Rican tradition. The traditional values taken into account in this volume are essentially family values; that is, the values that help define the role of husband and wife toward each other and the raising of children on a day to day basis. So they are gender based values. The authors think the relationships between tradition, family, and values have general common threads running through all societies, but need to be understood separately for each group. The final aim is to have an empirical base for a culturally appropriate use of ethnotherapy in persons with drug or alcohol problems.

    The content is more modest: a cross sectional survey of drinking behaviour and substance use and norms among the Puerto Rican population living in the New York metropolitan area. The results of the impact of high and low acculturation and high and low traditionalism on outcome variables and the differences between men and women are interesting and not surprising knowing the cultural norms and beliefs of the Hispanic tradition. Nevertheless, far from the authors’ objectives, the results of the study confirm that, as in any other culture, these norms are sometimes relevant high risk factors for the development of drinking or drug using problems, although in other cases they behave as protective factors. Finally, the authors place a more modest role for ethothearapy “ethnotherapy with Hispanics is merely a suggestion for creating a therapeutic and accepting environment in which Hispanics substance abusers can raise their levels of traditionalism and ethnic identity as a foundation for dealing with their substance abuse”.