Módena ME. El contexto social del beber. Mortalidad registrada y representación social de la muerte. [Drinking and its social context. Recorded mortality and the social representation of death.] Salud Problema [Health as a Problem] ( Mexico DF, Mexico ) 1999 December; 4 (7):63-74.

Objectives: To analyze social representations of death from alcohol consumption and the relationship of these representations to mortality data associated with alcohol consumption.

Methodology: Qualitative. In-depth interviews; interpretive analysis combining information from the interviews with quantitative, secondary data.

Results: The author analyzes representations concerning the process of alcohol addiction and its relationship to death from cirrhosis and violence. Such representations coincide with statistical data on cause of death. The population is capable of understanding the social context in which this problem manifests itself. The qualitative and quantitative data illustrate the mental outlook of those who suffer from the alcohol addiction, those who are close to these people, and those who plan to give up alcohol. The author analyzes the term, “mortality by civilization,” which conveys the contradiction of death by malnutrition and intake of excessive alcohol as a response t (a) pressures arising from particular social circumstances; (b) material and psychological deprivation; (c) lack of a belief in the future; and, (d) the urge to blot out the unbearable reality of one’s social context.

Conclusions: The study clarifies the problem of alcohol consumption, and its outcomes of decline and death, within the larger social context in which the process takes place. This approach goes beyond blaming the victim. Instead, this perspective confronts the problem by specifying the need for social and economic change, rather than a narrow preoccupation with the individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico