Advocacy Project Term Paper

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¶ … Drinking and Driving Consequences

Are we taking the drunken drivers off the road only to turn them into drunken pedestrians?

Lawrence S. Harris, North Carolina State Medical Examiner (Simpson, 1988)

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Term Paper on Advocacy Project Assignment

Despite drinking alcohol being illegal for them to do so, many underage people often heavily drink alcohol, a legal product individuals at least 21-years-old may consume in the United States. (Eigen & Noble, 1996; 1998; Office for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1991; Presley, Leichter, & Mielman, 1999; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) Underage alcohol consumption, in turn, Eigen & Noble (1998; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) report, increase the likelihood of automobile accidents, resulting from drought driving, (Eigen & Noble, 1996; Siegal, 1999; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006)), as well as, alcohol abuse and addiction. (Grant & Dawson, 1998; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) in an article, published in the New York Times during June, 1986, regarding traffic deaths of individuals whose driver's licenses had been revoked for drunk driving, Harris presents the poignant question introducing this advocacy project: "Are we taking the drunken drivers off the road only to turn them into drunken pedestrians?" (Simpson, 1988) Problem Statement Consequences of underage drinking and driving include youth experiencing hangovers, behaving in ways they later regret, engaging in arguments due to influence of alcohol, and forgetting parts of the times under the influence. A primary concern, however, is alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents among underage drinkers. (Ouellette et al., 1999; cited by Arata, Stafford & Tims, 2003) Hingson (1993; cited by Arata, Stafford & Tims, 2003) estimates consumption of alcohol contributes to 50% of fatal car crashes among drivers under the age of 21. This concern contributes to the perception constituting this advocacy project's problem statement: Youth's positive perceptions of negative consequences of alcohol consumption. Significance of the Problem Alcohol consumption, according to Johnston, O'Malley, & Bachman (2002; cited by Arata, Stafford & Tims, 2003), currently constitutes a contemporary critical concern contributing to risk behaviors teens engage in, as noted by results from the 2001 Monitoring the Future survey (Johnston, O'Malley, & Bachman, 2002; cited by Arata, Stafford & Tims, 2003) which reports: "63.5% of tenth graders and 73.3% of twelfth graders reported drinking in the past year, with 39.0% and 49.8%, respectively, reporting alcohol use in the past 30 days."

Approximately 22% of 10th graders reported they had been drunk during the past 30 days. Approximately 33% of twelfth graders reported this same scenario. Although attitudes toward teenage drinking often appear mixed, research indicates problem drinking, common among high school students, does in fact constitute a contemporary problem. As a number of older adolescents routinely report drinking to excess, alcohol consumption, as well as, "problem drinking among teenagers is, not surprisingly, associated with a number of negative consequences." (Arata, Stafford & Tims, 2003)

Purpose of the Advocacy This advocacy project proposes to inform and influence youth at risk for driving while under the influence of alcohol to investigate components contributing to underage drinking, as well as, examine consequences of underage drinking and driving while under the influence of alcohol.


Summaries of Existing Literature Alcohol significantly contributes to motor vehicle crashes, Salazar, Firestone, Price, Villarreal, Guerra, and Harris (2006) report. Motor vehicle crashes continue to lead as the cause of death for youth 15-20 years of age (CDC, 2004, Lazy, Wiliszowski, & Jones, 2004). The Office of Applied Studies at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2004), reports that during 2003, 21% of youth16 to 20 years old reported they had driven during the past year while intoxicated by alcohol consumption for the use of illicit drugs. "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2003, a quarter of young drivers ages 15 to 20 years killed in motor vehicle crashes were intoxicated." (NHTSA, 2004; cited by Salazar, Firestone, Price, Villarreal, Guerra, and Harris, 2006) During 2004, approximately 2,000 individuals killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes involved an underage driver who was drinking. Alcohol-related traffic crashes, which involved an underage drinking driver injured another half a million people. "Research continues to show that young drivers (age 15-20) are more often involved in alcohol-related crashes than any other comparable age group. Traffic crashes are the number one killer of teens, and nearly one-third of teen traffic deaths are alcohol-related." (MADD..., 2006)

Male youth range at higher risk for death in an alcohol-related motor-vehicle crash.

During 2003, at the time of the crash, 28% of young male drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Thirteen percent of young female drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. (NHTSA; cited by Salazar, Firestone, Price, Villarreal, Guerra, and Harris, 2006) Common, contemporary advertising elements promoting/advertising alcohol in television and print, content studies reveal, include: "humor, sociability, physical attractiveness, success, romance, adventure, fun activities, celebrity endorsers, animation, and rock music." (Atkin, 1987; Atkin & Block, 1981; Breed & De Foe, 1984; Finn & Strickland, 1982; Kelly, Slater, Karan, & Hunn, 2000; Postman et al., 1988; Wallack, Grube, et al., 1990; Zwarun & Farrar, 2005; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006)

Young people readily recall the appealing components, which make alcohol advertising popular with them. They report liking the ads they easily remember, and they recognize the ad sponsors. (Aitken et al., 1988; Grube, 1993; Wallack, Cassady, et al., 1990; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) "Alcohol expectancy theory (Goldman, Brown, & Christiansen, 1987; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) is an extension of social cognitive theory that has been applied to drinking behavior with much empirical success." Modeled portrayals in alcohol advertising, according to alcohol expectancy theory, can result in individuals forming the perception that drinking alcohol produces social and physical rewards, prompting the intent to drink, along with drinking behavior, as a result. (Abrams & Niaura, 1987; Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, Signorielli, & Shanahan, 2002; Austin & Meili, 1994; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) Studies also reveal, Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel (2006) purport, that youth more aware of alcohol advertising possess more positive beliefs about drinking. Consequently, this awareness "mediates their intention to drink as adults. (Grube, 1993; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) Aitken et al. (1988; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) concur that underage drinking correlates with an appreciation of alcohol advertising; (1984; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006); while Atkin et al. (1988; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) found considerable links exist between exposure to alcohol advertising and teenagers' self-reported consumption of alcohol among themselves, as well as, their intention to consume alcohol in the future. Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel (2006) report that widespread research on alcohol expectancies, evolving from advertisements, consistently reveals the following promoted perceptions, which many youth adopt:

Alcohol serves to powerfully transform experiences in positive ways.

Alcohol automatically increases physical and social pleasures.

Alcohol enhances an individual's cognitive and motor functioning, as well as, his/her power.

Alcohol increases an individual's ability to perform sexually and enhances the sexual experience.

Alcohol strengthens an individual's ability to be assertive.

Alcohol enhances an individual's mood and helps him/her relax. (Brown, Goldman, Inn, & Anderson, 1980; Goldman et al., 1987; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006)

Although courts regularly mandate treatment for individuals charged with drinking and driving to attempt to treat alcohol problems and research identifies some effective mandated treatment modalities, a dearth of gaps in knowledge and "sure" treatment modalities continue to challenge courts and individuals who drink and drive. (Dill & Wells-Parker, 2006)

Alcohol Expectancies

Primary problematic alcohol expectancies young people possess appear to pertain to social benefits in anticipated physical/psychological perks. (Brown et al., 1980; Christiansen et al., 1982; Goldman et al., 1987; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) Youth who abstain from consuming alcohol, albeit, are distinguished by their disbelief in alcohol's benefits/perks. (Martin et al., 2002; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) Due to the content of numerous beer ads portraying social, as well as, social and physical activities, when youth view these ads, they may begin to anticipate that drinking beer produces positive social and positive physical outcomes. (Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006; cited by Zwarun, Linz, Metzger & Kunkel, 2006) in general, Arata, Stafford & Tims (2003) report: "males and females who consumed more alcohol, binged at least twice in the past 2 weeks, reported more liberal drinking norms, and had more friends who got drunk" related the most negative alcohol consumption related consequences. These findings concur with the prior research which demonstrates the significance of peer norms relating to drinking, particularly in terms of negative, alcohol use consequences.

Numerous prevention tactics schools utilize reportedly have impacted underage drinking. Strategies include:

School policies regarding alcohol use on school property or at school-sponsored events. (These policies are especially important in colleges and universities, as well as in junior high and high schools.)

Media literacy programs to make… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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