Patterns and perception of alcohol drinking among the Lahu people, Northern Thailand
Sudkhed Detpitukyon, Tawatchai Apidechkul, Rachanee Sunsern, Amornrat Anuwatnonthakate, Onnalin Singhhorn, Bukhari Putsa, Phitnaree Thutsanti
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the pattern and perception of alcohol drinking among the Lahu people in northern Thailand.
Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative method was used to elicit information on the patterns and perceptions of alcohol drinking amongst the Lahu tribespeople. Question guidelines had been developed from literature reviews and approved by three experts in the field of public health and alcohol studies. A total of 21 participants of different ages and sexes from 3 separate Lahu villages were invited to provide information. All interviews were taped and transcribed before analysis. A content analysis was used.
Findings – Lahu people begin alcohol consumption at an average of 12 years, with males usually beginning before females of the same age. Consuming alcohol is perceived to be a sign of adulthood and is also used as a means of gaining social acceptance from others in the community. Alcohol is consumed throughout the year with young and old, male and females, describing varied reasons for drinking. Income, parental behavior, and peer pressure contributes to the onset of alcohol drinking among young Lahu people. Several factors contributed to the use of alcohol among the Lahu people such as sex, age, occupation and income, peer pressure, taste and price as well as cultural adaptations amongst the farming community that play a significant role in the frequency of alcohol consumption amongst the Lahu community.
Originality/value – The results should support the development of peer education on the negative impact of alcohol use among the young people, and development of a community agreement on reducing excessive alcohol use in the Lahu community should be implemented.
Alcoholism; Patterns of alcohol consumption; Perception of drinking; Hill tribes; Ritual and ceremonial drinking patterns