College Students and Alcohol Use Research Proposal

Pages: 17 (5292 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs

College Students and Alcohol Use

THE CONNECTION AND THE SOLUTION

International Perspective

Findings of studies conducted in 13 countries found that college students are at a high risk for heavy drinking with serious immediate health consequences (Karam, Kypri & Salamoun, 2007). These consequences included drink-driving and other substance use and longer-term consequences, such as alcoholism. Perilous drinking appears more prevalent in Australasia, Europe, and South America than in Africa and Asia, according to the studies. They also said alcohol consumption has been increasing, especially among young people who are college students, in the U.S.A. (Karam, et al.).

These studies surveyed a mixed set of other recent studies from Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and South America (Karam et al., 2007). They found that alcohol was more used by male college students who belonged to higher socio-economic status, with higher educational levels and whose families indulged in excessive alcohol. On the other hand, belief in God, the practice of faith and negative family attitudes towards excessive drinking went against an indulgence. Some of the studies revealed that increased alcohol consumption occurred in the 1990s. These students were inclined to drink on Fridays, when classes end for the week, and if they live in a residential hall. Moreover, alcohol use also increased anxiety, smoking, the use of other substances and drink-driving. College student drinking was an alarming problem in Europe, Australasia and South America. Evidence continued to mount that it was reaching problem levels also in countries in other continents and with similar risk factors. Web-based screening, brief intervention, motivational intervention and psycho-education have been attempted in countries like Sweden and New Zealand to respond to the problem (Karam, et al.).

The most frequent consequences of excessive drinking by college students were damaged property, poor class attendance, hangovers, police arrests, injuries and fatalities (Labrie, Hummer & Pedersen, 2007). The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism sought to identify the reasons for indulgence in order to design and establish intervention measures. Earlier researches identified peer influence, availability of alcoholic drinks and pressure with their studies as influences and social purposes and emotional escape or relief as the reasons for drinking. The factors to these were mood enhancement, tension reduction or coping, and social motives. Each of the factors possessed unique characteristics in relation to the behavior and the outcomes. Enhancement and coping motives often led to excessive consumption and its consequences. Social reasons did not conduce to excessive consumption or ensuing problems (Labrie, et al.).

A recent research project reaffirmed the findings of earlier studies on the influence of social reasons for drinking among college students (Labrie et al., 2007). It also showed that female students engaged in drinking and incurred related consequences mainly for social reasons. Social camaraderie was the most frequent reason and the stronger social motivator, which determined alcohol consumption levels, than enhancement or coping motives. There was a clear gender difference in motive, the drinking and the consequences among college students. The social facilitation effect seemed to affect them through increased drinking. Drinking, in turn, led to negative consequences. Female students drank mainly for social reasons and this incurred harmful effects not previously considered.(Labrie, et al.).

College Students' Knowledge of Alcohol and Drinking

Existing empirical data reveal that many college students drink and that drinking is part of college life (Black, Ausherman, Kandakai, Lam & Jurjevic, 2004). A recent study looked into the drinking patterns and problems of 1,296 university students, how well they knew about alcohol and its effects and the difference in the Knowledge between urban, non-residential university students and traditional university students. Findings disclosed that knowledge about alcohol and drinking was generally low in both groups. The knowledge level was lower among urban, non-residential college students than among traditional college students. Factors in the difference consisted of age and employment status. Older students and those employed knew more about alcohol than those who were not employed, whether full-time or part-time. The findings compared with those of earlier studies, which pointed to gender, age and race as factors. These studies consistently showed that male, older and Caucasian college students knew more about alcohol and drinking than female, younger and non-Caucasian college students. Female and younger college students and people of color tend to drink at a later time than male, older and Caucasian college students. This delay in experience influenced that knowledge about alcohol and drinking. Other factors included cultural and societal prejudices by young, female and ethnic or religious people. These prejudices or values influenced the willingness to experiment with alcohol and, therefore, the level of knowledge about it and its effects (Black, et al.).

Most available information on alcohol and its effects has been steady since the drink was introduced (Black et al., 2004). A survey sought to test if liquor mixed with soda pop would intoxicate faster than when taken straight. The original survey said this was false, but college textbooks claimed it was true. Some authorities contended that carbon dioxide pushes alcohol faster from the stomach to the small intestine where it is absorbed by the blood. Faster absorption also increases headaches and hangovers. If carbonation in champagne and wines increases absorption, carbonation in soda pop drinks, mixed with liquor, should have the same effect in the stomach and the small intestine (Black, et al.).

One more study revealed that young adults had the highest rate of drinking and heavy drinking among all age groups (Barnett et al., 2008). It also said that college students indulged in monthly drinking more at 68% and heavy drinking in the past two weeks than young adults who did not attend college. Furthermore, campuses reported hundreds of alcohol violations and extreme intoxication. Alcohol use was likewise identified as a major contributor to morbidity and mortality among college students (Barnett, et al.).

The study investigated almost 700 college students in four campuses with different rate of alcohol use and policies (Barnett et al., 2008). They were categorized into three clusters in developing three profiles, according to their recent heavy alcohol use and resulting problems, alcohol use during referral incident, and acknowledged responsibility and reaction to the referrals. It was initially found that a majority of these surveyed students were freshmen. Some of them were first-time offenders, who were likelier to live on campus and under campus police monitoring. Older students were likelier to have developed drinking patterns, which protected them from extreme occurrences and apprehensions. The three clusters were the "Why Me?," "So What?," and the Bad Incident clusters (Barnett, et al.).

College students in the "Why Me?" cluster had below-average alcohol use and problems, referral incidents and feelings of responsibility for the incidents (Barnett et al., 2008). They were relatively low-risk and incurred less severe violations on campus than those in the other two clusters or profiles. The majority of campus violators, however, belonged to this group or cluster at 92%. Students in the "So What?" cluster had above-average levels of alcohol use and problems, moderate levels of drinking in the reported incident, and feelings of responsibility for the incident but had low levels of aversiveness. They represented 80% of violators on campus. They were mostly male who had substantially higher alcohol and drug consumption levels than those in the two other clusters. And those in the Bad Incident cluster had low prior alcohol use and low-to-moderate alcohol problems but a high sense of aversiveness, feelings of responsibility and incident drinking, which led to referral. Most of them were freshmen but they differed from those in other clusters in that the type of incident they figured in was not as clearly characterized as the other two groups. But 70% of them were medically evaluated for intoxication and 53% of them committed behavioral infractions (Barnett, et al.).

Campus policy and enforcement covered mostly the Bad Incident cluster at 46% (Barnett et al., 2008). One surveyed campus operated its own emergency medical service and an overnight infirmary in addition to a widely-publicized medical amnesty policy for alcohol. Most of the cases in this campus fell under the Bad Incident category or profile. On the other hand, college students under the first two clusters accounted for high rates of possession violations (Barnett, et al.).

Deliberate Use of Alcohol among College Students

A survey of 206 American college students on social cognitive and psychosocial factors found that alcohol use was a reasoned decision among them (Kuther & Temoshin, 2003). It has become common knowledge that alcohol use is highly prevalent among American college students. This is evident in popular newsmagazines, which feature problems on the use of alcohol in college campuses. Of the nationally surveyed college students, 85% said they consumed alcohol within the previous year, 70% every month, and 40% five or more in a row or in binge drinking in the previous two weeks. Another sample of more than 17,000 college students from 140 colleges throughout the U.S. said they indulged in binge drinking at least once in the last two weeks (Kuther & Temoshin).

Social cognitive models have… [END OF PREVIEW]

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