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“The Bottle Is My Wife”: Exploring Reasons Why Men Drink Alcohol in Ugandan Fishing Communities


Fishing communities in Uganda have high rates of excessive alcohol consumption and negative health outcomes related to alcohol consumption, such as HIV acquisition and transmission and intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration. Research lacks understanding of alcohol use in Ugandan fishing communities, underlying reasons for excessive drinking among fishermen or how their community perceives negative health outcomes linked to excessive alcohol consumption. This qualitative study was conducted among Ugandan fisherfolk to determine why excessive alcohol consumption has overtaken their communities. Through analyzing in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, reasons for drinking and community perceptions of drinking were explored using the Socio Ecological Model and the Time Perspective Theory. Interviews were coded into two content themes: social influences on drinking and using alcohol to cope with stress. Participants acknowledged links between excessive alcohol consumption and negative health outcomes within their families and communities. These findings highlight the need for alcohol-related reduction interventions that are sensitive to contextual factors and self-identified contributors to problematic alcohol use within individuals and their communities. Such interventions must consider the social, ecological and economic conditions within fishing sites, focusing not only on individual-level behavioral change but also challenging the underlying structures that foster excessive alcohol consumption.

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