Knowledge of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) among Natives in Northern Manitoba

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Williams, Robert J.
Gloster, Susan P.
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Rutgers University
Objective: To investigate knowledge about fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) among Natives in northern Manitoba. A second objective was to determine if there are age or gender differences in level of knowledge. A third objective was to examine the relationship between knowledge about FAS and reported frequency of drug and alcohol use during pregnancy. Method: A nonrandom sample of 466 Natives from northern Manitoba was interviewed about drug and alcohol use during pregnancy and knowledge of FAS. The sample was proportionately representative of the 26 northern reserves, with an approximately equal number of male and female subjects ranging in age from 13 to 71 years. Results: Northern Manitoban Natives have lower levels of FAS knowledge than the general public. Of this sample, 80% believed drinking alcohol could adversely affect the unborn baby and 36% had heard of FAS, compared to 90% and 64%, respectively, in the general U.S. population. Natives in their 20s and 30s were more knowledgeable than Natives in their 50s and 60s. Females tended to be more knowledgeable than males. Drug and alcohol use during pregnancy is high (51% of women report drinking during one or more pregnancies) and the relationship between FAS knowledge and drug use during pregnancy appears weak. Young people were the most knowledgeable about FAS but also the most likely to report having used drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. Conclusions: The low levels of knowledge about FAS among the Native population supports the need for continued education. However, the results also suggest that education by itself may be insufficient to make dramatic changes in behavior. (J. Stud. Alcohol 60: 833-836, 1999)
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Fetal alcohol syndrome
Williams, R. J., & Gloster, S. P. (1999). Knowledge of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) among Natives in Northern Manitoba. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 60, 833-836.