J Korean Diabetes > Volume 13(2); 2012 > Article
The Journal of Korean Diabetes 2012;13(2):57-60.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4093/jkd.2012.13.2.57    Published online June 30, 2012.
한국인에서 음주의 사회적 의미
The Social Meaning of Alcohol Consumption in Korea.
Sungsoo Chun
Department of Health Management, Sahmyook University, Seoul, Korea. chss97@syu.ac.kr
The aim of this article was to evaluate the social meaning of alcohol consumption among Koreans. Drinking is considered a method of nonverbal communication, a useful means of maintaining a sense of community and individuality within a community, and a bridge for gathering during work and leisure time. Since Korean society places such a strong social meaning on drinking behavior, the harmful effects of alcohol can extend beyond individual problems to the bigger social picture. The problems associated with excessive alcohol consumption continue to increase every year. The prevalence of high-risk has increased from 14.9% (2005) to 17.1% (2009) and the rate of drinking and driving accidents has increased from 54.79 per 100,000 person (2005) to 57.86 (2009). In addition, the total expenditure on alcohol-related disease in Korea has increased markedly from 3.2 trillion won in 2005 to 6.1 trillion won in 2009. The government's efforts to reduce alcohol harms have not been as effective as anticipated because there is a strong social dependence on alcohol. Regular alcohol consumption can elicit a strong feeling of dependence that is very difficult to reverse. In addition, the powerful social meaning Koreans associate with drinking contributes to their propensity to develop a deeper psychological and physical dependence on alcohol. A strategy to affect cultural change is desperately needed in order to alter the social meaning of drinking to reduce drinking harms in modern Korean society.
Key Words: Alcohol, Drinking, Drinking culture, Social dependence, Social meaning of drinking

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