Alcohol Abuse Essay, Research Paper
Alcohol use on college campuses has been a hot issue for students and faculty for many years. Yet, there is still no concrete evidence as to the effects of alcohol use on college students. The perceived situation is college students binge drink and their grades are adversely affected. Is this a social norm? The question is whether these perceived social norms towards alcohol use on college campuses are in fact the social norms of college students. The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the true social norms of Bradley University student’s attitude and practice in regards to alcohol. The sample is significant to Bradley University, using only Bradley students. The study will benefit the Wellness Center in its current social norms campaign. The study’s goal is to better understand the attitudes and practices of Bradley students toward alcohol consumption.
Before we decided what methods we were going to use to collect the information, a mock focus group was held. The mock focus group consisted of Bradley students ranging in ages from 18 through 22, and was a mixture of on-campus and off-campus students. The purpose of the mock-focus group was to decide what types of questions should be chosen to get the most useful information for the social norms campaign. The mock focus group led the study in the direction of asking students not only their personal alcohol uses, but also how other students’ drinking affects their lives. We were looking for quantitative data; therefore, the idea of a focus group was immediately rejected. Constraints of money, time and manpower prevented the use of any probability sample. Many sampling methods were looked into and a convenience sample was chosen. Constraints of time and money immediately disqualified mail surveys and intercept surveys. A convenience sample was the logical sample to produce quantitative data in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Once the sampling method was chosen a method of gathering the information had to be decided upon. The data was collected by using a group-administered survey given to students in a University required freshman course located in the Global Communications Center. The students were asked to complete the survey during class and place the completed survey in an envelope located at the front of the classroom. The group-administered survey allowed for data to be collected quickly and inexpensively. The survey consisted of checklist questions, asking such questions as gender, age, class, current residence and the amount of alcohol consumed in one week. Closed-ended questions were used for gathering such information as student’s attitudes toward alcohol use and practices of alcohol use. The survey used was pre-tested. An independent research provider coded the data and no training was needed. The convenience sample was advantageous in meeting the small budget and gathering information from the available students. The convenience sample put the study at a disadvantage because it is a non-probability sample and no measurement of error can be determined. The group-administered survey was effective in getting responses from only Bradley students and gathering the information quickly. The closed-ended questions made reporting the information simple. One draw back to using closed-ended questions is the question gave no room for exploration of those attitudes and practices not thought of in preparing the survey and therefore not presented on the survey. The group administration could have skewed results due to peer influence. The group administration also allowed for limited a variety of respondents in a freshman class.
Next two pages are a few of the most significant results in graph form
RESULTS AND ANALYSIS
Seventy-four percent of the respondents were female. Ninety percent of the respondents were under the age of 21, falling between the ages of 18-21 years old. Eighty-five percent of the respondents were underclassmen and ninety-five percent resided on campus. When asked how many drinks the students consumed in one week nearly fifty-two percent answered less than two drinks per week. Seventy-three percent of students feel that this campus promotes drinking. Eighty-three percent of students feel other students drinking did not effect their ability to study. Sixty percent felt other students drinking did not interfere with their life. There were many significant results in the section on the effects of drinking (in general). Seventy-seven percent of students agree that drinking does enhance social activity. Seventy-four percent believe drinking to “break the ice.” Seventy four percent believe drinking “gives people something to do.”
The results seem to show two significant findings. One, the amount that Bradley students report to drink each week, fifty percent drink 2 or less drinks per week, do not correlate with the response that seventy-three percent of respondents agree that this campus promotes drinking. The margin of error can not be computed, but it justifies further investigation. The survey’s results may be skewed based on the age of the respondents. Another significant finding and possible error, as a result of the method used to collect the data, is the high numbers of students who seem to favor drinking in a social situation, yet consume two or less drinks per week.
The results were presumably what would be expected from a group-administered survey. The questions were not in depth, but did give direction for further study. A larger and more age-diversified study may help correct possible errors in this survey. The fact that ninety percent of students in the study resided on-campus may also have effected the campaign and should be checked for errors. The study was limited to answers provided, in majority, by those students who can not legally drink, which is a factor that could limit the study. The two areas presented above as areas of significance could benefit from further study, as more in-depth research could provide more accurate results. The results of the study indicate the perceived social norms of college students may not be true. College students are perceived as heavy drinkers, yet the results seem to indicate a majority of students consume only a few drinks per week. More in depth study is suggested.