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Reflections on a Proposed Theory of Reservation-dwelling American Indian Alcohol use: Comment on Spillane and Smith
Psychological Bulletin (2009)
  • Joseph E. Trimble, PhD, Western Washington University
  • Janette Beals
  • Annie Belcort-Dittloff
  • Stacey Freedenthal
  • Carol Kaufman
  • Christina Mitchell
  • Nancy Whitesell
  • Karen Albright
  • Fred Beauvais
  • Gordon Belcourt
  • Bonnie Duran
  • Candace Fleming
  • Natasha Floersch
  • Kevin Foley
  • Lori Jervis
  • Billie Jo Kipp
  • Patricia Mail
  • Spero Manson
  • Philip May
  • Gerald Mohatt
  • Bradley Morris
  • Douglas Novins
  • Joan O-Connell
  • Tassy Parker
  • Gilbert Quintero
  • Paul Spicer
  • Arlene Stiffman
  • Josephy Stone
  • Kamilla Venner
  • Karina Walters

In their recent article, N. Spillane and G. Smith suggested that reservation-dwelling American Indians have higher rates of problem drinking than do either non–American Indians or those American Indians living in nonreservation settings. These authors further argued that problematic alcohol use patterns in reservation communities are due to the lack of contingencies between drinking and “standard life reinforcers” (SLRs), such as employment, housing, education, and health care. This comment presents evidence that these arguments were based on a partial review of the literature. Weaknesses in the application of SLR constructs to American Indian reservation communities are identified as is the need for culturally contextualized empirical evidence supporting this theory and its application. Cautionary notes are offered about the development of literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and policy recommendations for American Indian communities.

  • American Indians,
  • Alcohol,
  • Problem drinking,
  • Reservation,
  • Contextual differences,
  • Individual differences,
  • Alcohol use risk
Publication Date
March, 2009
Publisher Statement
Copyright: American Psychological Association. 2009
Citation Information
Joseph E. Trimble, PhD, Janette Beals, Annie Belcort-Dittloff, Stacey Freedenthal, et al.. "Reflections on a Proposed Theory of Reservation-dwelling American Indian Alcohol use: Comment on Spillane and Smith" Psychological Bulletin Vol. 135 Iss. 2 (2009)
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