Polish-American Drinking

Continuity and Change
  • Paul J. Freund


A growing body of research demonstrates that members of specific ethnic groups often have distinctly different patterns of alcohol use. Many of these studies have focused on and/or contrasted problem-drinking Irish with Jews, who have a low incidence of alcoholism (Ablon & Cunningham, 1981; Bales, 1962; Knupfer & Room, 1967; Strivers, 1976; Synder, 1958). Other ethnic groups studied include the Italians (Blane, 1977; Lolli, Serianni, Golder, & Luzzato-Fegiz, 1958; Simboli, 1976), Hispanics (Gordon, 1978; Paine, 1977; Trotter, 1982), Asians (Sue, Zana, & Ito, 1979; Wilson, McClearn & Johnson, 1978), and Armenians (Freund, 1980). However, with the exception of a brief mention in Thomas and Znaniecki’s classic study of the Polish peasant (1918–1920) and a few scattered articles, largely concerned with other issues, (Taft, 1936; Zand, 1961; Finestone, 1967) there has been little research on Polish-American drinking. Even monographs on various Polish-American communities in Chicago, Boston, Buffalo, and Detroit (Lopata, 1976; Morawska, 1977; Obidinski, 1968; Wrobel, 1979) contain at most an occasional reference to drinking or the role of alcohol in the Polish community.


Drinking Behavior Drinking Pattern Alcoholic Anonymous Polish Community Social Club 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ablon, J., & Cunningham, W. Implications of cultural patterning for the delivery of alcoholism services. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1981 (Suppl. 9), 185-206.Google Scholar
  2. Bales, R. F. Attitudes toward drinking in the Irish culture. In P. J. Pittman & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), Society, culture and drinking patterns. New York: Wiley, 1962.Google Scholar
  3. Benet, S. Song, dance and customs of peasant Poland. New York: Roy Publishers, 1951.Google Scholar
  4. Blane, H. T., Acculturation and drinking in an Italian-American community. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1977, 38: 1324–1346.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bushee, F. A. Ethnic factors in the population of Boston. Publications of the American Economic Association, 1903, 4, 293–477.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, N. H. Deliver us from evil; an interpretation of American Prohibition. New York: Norton, 1976.Google Scholar
  7. Falewicz, J. K. Uwarunkowania spotycia napojow alkohologych: Wyniki: ankiety ogolnopolskiej z 1968. (Conditions of alcoholic beverage consumption: Results of a nationwide survey in 1968.) Problemy Alkoholizmu, 1968, 20, 1–10.Google Scholar
  8. Fandetti, D. V., & Gelfand, D. E. Attitudes toward symptoms and services in the ethnic family and neighborhood. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1978, 48, 477–481.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Finestone, H. Reformation and recidivism among Italian and Polish criminal offenders. American Journal of Sociology, 1967, 72, 575–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Freund, P. J. Armenian-American drinking patterns. Alcohol, Health and Research World, 1980, 5, 47–50.Google Scholar
  11. Gordon, A. J. Hispanic drinking after migration: The Dominican case. Medical Anthropology, 1978, 2, 61–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gorski, J., & Moczarski, K. Alkohol w Kulturze: Obyczaju. (Alcohol in culture and custom.). Warsaw: Wiedza Powszechna, 1972.Google Scholar
  13. Gusfield, J. R. Symbolic crusade: Status politics and the American Temperance Movement. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1963.Google Scholar
  14. Knupfer, G., & Room, R. Drinking patterns and attitudes of Irish, Jewish and white Protestant American men. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1967, 28, 676–699.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kryczka, P. Some phenomena of social pathology in Poland. The Polish Sociological Bulletin, 1979, 2, 101–109.Google Scholar
  16. Lolli, G. E., Serianni, E., Golder, G. M., & Luzzato-Fegiz, P. Alcohol in Italian culture: Food and wine in relation to sobriety among Italians and Italian-Americans. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, 1958.Google Scholar
  17. Lopata, H. Z. The Function of Voluntary Associations in an ethnic community: Polonia. In E. W. Burgess & D. J. Bogue (Eds.), Contributions to Urban Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964.Google Scholar
  18. Lopata, H. Z. Polish-Americans: Status competition in an ethnic community. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976.Google Scholar
  19. Morawska, E. T. The maintenance of ethnicity: Case study of the Polish-American community in Greater Boston. San Francisco: R&E Research Associates, 1977.Google Scholar
  20. Obidinski, E. Ethnic to status group: A study of Polish-Americans in Buffalo. Doctoral Dissertation, State University of New York, Buffalo, 1968.Google Scholar
  21. Ostafin, P. A. The Polish community in transition: A study of group interactions as a function of symbioses and common definitions. Doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1948.Google Scholar
  22. Paine, H. J. Attitudes and patterns of alcohol use among Mexican-Americans: Implications for service delivery. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1977, 38, 544–553.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Parmalee, N. Inebriety in Boston. New York: Eagle Press, 1909.Google Scholar
  24. Popham, R. E. The social history of the tavern. In Y. Israel et al. (Eds.), Research advances in alcohol and drug problems, Vol. 4. New York: Plenum Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  25. Reymont, L. The Peasants: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer (4 vols.), translated by Michael H. Dziewicki, New York: Knopf, 1925.Google Scholar
  26. Seng, D. I. Ethnic, racial and class attitudes toward national prohibition, 1920–1933. Master’s thesis, DePaul University, Chicago, 1973.Google Scholar
  27. Simboli, B. J. Acculturated drinking practices and problem drinking among three generations of Italians in America. DPH Dissertation, University of California, San Francisco, 1976.Google Scholar
  28. Strivers, R. The hair of the dog: Irish drinking and American stereotype. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976.Google Scholar
  29. Sue, S., Zane, N., & Ito, J. Alcohol drinking patterns among Asians and Caucasian Americans. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1979, 10, 41–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Synder, C. R. Alcohol and the Jews. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1958.Google Scholar
  31. Swiecicki, A. Consumption of alcoholic drinks by pupils and students of primary, secondary and high schools in Polish cities. British Journal of Addiction, 1967, 62, 357–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Swiecicki, A. Ksztaltowanie sie Spozycia napojow alkoholowych od XVII w do dz: (Consumption of alcoholic beverages in Poland from the 18th century to the present day.) Problemy Alkoholizmu, 1968, 16, 4–7.Google Scholar
  33. Taft, P. Nationality and crime. American Journal of Sociology, 1936, 1, 724–736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Thomas, W. I., & Znaniecki, F. The Polish peasant in Europe and America. Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1918-1920.Google Scholar
  35. Trice, H. M., & Roman, P. M. Spirits and demons at work: Alcohol and other drugs on the job, 2nd Ed. New York: New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1978.Google Scholar
  36. Trotter, R. T. Ethnic and sexual patterns of alcohol use: Anglo and Mexican-American college students. Adolescence, 1982, 17, 305–325.Google Scholar
  37. Wilson, J. R., McClearn, G. E., & Johnson, R. C, Ethnic variation in use and effects of alcohol. Drug and Alcohol Dependance, 1978, 3, 147–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wrobel, P. Our way: Family, parish and neighborhood in a Polish-American community. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1979.Google Scholar
  39. Zakrzewski, P. Spozycie alkoholv w rejonie uprezemyslawianym oraz niektore zwiazane z tym problemy. (Alcohol drinking in a region becoming industrialized and some associated problems.) Problemy Alkoholizmv, 1971, 19, 1–5.Google Scholar
  40. Zand, H. S. Polish-American leisureways. Polish-American Studies, 1961, 18, 34–36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. Freund
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for African Studies, Community Health Research UnitUniversity of ZambiaLusakaZambia

Personalised recommendations