Alcohol use among Congolese Babembe male refugees in Tarrant County: A qualitative study

Elvis Longanga Diese, Amy Raines-Milenkov, Martha Felini, Idara Akpan, Arbaz Hussain, Eva Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Refugees are at high risk of alcohol abuse due to experiences in their country of origin, transit camps, and in host countries. Congolese have been the largest group of refugees resettled in the US since 2016 and Babembe represent one of the largest Congolese refugee sub-groups. There is a growing body of literature highlighting substance abuse among refugees resettled in the US, but little is known about Congolese Babembe. This study aimed to explore factors and practices contributing to alcohol abuse among Congolese Babembe refugees. Methods A qualitative research design employing a narrative inquiry approach was used in this study. One focus group discussion was conducted with a semi-structured guide in February 2020. A total of 19 hard-to-reach male refugee participants were recruited through snowball sampling. Audio recordings were translated and transcribed before a thematic content analysis was conducted using Nvivo 10. Results The main themes arose in the focus group analysis. First, the role of war, trauma, and migration in the onset of alcohol abuse in a community that once limited alcohol use to only older men for socialization. Second, refugees viewed alcohol abuse in their community as a result of post- resettlement cultural loss. Third, refugees perceived alcohol as serving a purpose to help cope with stressful conditions in the US and bad news received from loved ones in Africa. Further analysis shows the role of interactions with armed forces and other cultures during war and migration contributed to the adoption of alcohol abuse behavior. Conclusion Findings from this study suggest that factors contributing to alcohol abuse among Congolese Babembe refugees include personal traumatic experiences, loss of cultural identity, and conducive conditions in the host country. Understanding these factors can guide the development of appropriate interventions to prevent alcohol abuse in this vulnerable community. Further research is needed to include Babembe women’s perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0272293
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8 August
StatePublished - Aug 2022


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