Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

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Cultural factors

 Cultural Factors

Cultural and contextual factors play an important role in shaping drinking knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. These factors need to be well understood and taken into consideration in your program design, implementation, and evaluation.

It is important to understand the role of drinking in the culture you are addressing. Observations, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups with key stakeholders can provide valuable information about the role of perceived cultural and social norms.

Determining what the relevant norms are for your Target audience, and understanding how these norms influence behavior will help you design and implement a more effective intervention.

See the Resources Sidebar for links to more information on social norms in alcohol education and a road traffic safety program implemented in three culturally diverse countries. These resources contain many references to cultural adaptation.

You can use the list below as a starting point to help you think about what cultural, social, and contextual factors may be relevant to your target audience, your program content, and the behavior(s) that you will be measuring.

Examples of potential factors influencing drinking behavior:

  • Socially acceptable drinking behaviors;
  • Attitudes about young people and drinking;
  • Attitudes among young people about drinking;
  • Perceptions of acceptance;
  • Perceptions of normative behavior;
  • Alternatives to drinking;
  • Availability of alcohol in the community
  • Enforcement of alcohol purchasing and drinking regulations.

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Target audience

the particular group to which the program is aimed. For example, young people.