Alcohol Consumption By Adolescents


Alcohol Consumption By Adolescents Essay, Research Paper

Alcohol Consumption by Adolescents

It’s just another Friday night, but this time it’s the guy’s night out.

What do many teenage boys have on their mind? They want to go cruising down the

highway at 80 miles per hour with the windows down. Find some beer, and some

women that they can get drunk, have sex with and have something to tell about

the next day. The sad thing is, that most of the time it is true. A survey was

taken in Nebraska in September of 1995, which said 25.7% of adolescents aged 18

and younger said, they have used alcohol before having sex. That is just in

Nebraska alone (Courtney, 288, 1995). It is also said that Fraternity and

Sorority members drink more and drink more frequently than their peers and

accept as normal high levels of alcohol consumption and associated problems.

Fraternity-sponsored parties also may encourage heavy drinking. Studies have

found that students who consider parties or athletics important and those who

drink to get drunk appear most likely to binge drink or to drink heavily

(Shalala, 1, 1995 ).

Although alcohol use by adolescents is frequent, alcoholism is very rare.

Still, alcohol consumption by adolescents hinders normal development. Alcohol

intake by children can result in learning impairment, hyperactivity, and

personality and behavior problems, because today’s society has accepted the

casual use of alcohol (Effects, 1996, 1). Among men, research suggests that

greater alcohol use is related to greater sexual aggression (Shalala, 1995, 2).

Students living on campuses with higher proportions of binge drinkers experience

more incidents of assault and unwanted sexual advances because of their peers’

drinking than do students residing on campuses with lower proportions of binge

drinkers (Shalala, 1995, 2). Some campuses sponsor alcohol awareness events and

classroom lectures and distribute information about alcohol use. Although such

education programs raise students’ awareness of issues surrounding alcohol use,

these programs appear to have minimal effect on drinking and on the rates of

alcohol problems.

According to Donna E. Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services at

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it seems that binge

drinkers appear to engage in more unplanned sexual activity and to abandon safe

sex techniques more often than students who do not binge drink (Shalala, 1995,

2). The purpose of this paper will prove whether or not Ms. Shalala is right or


The first study was done in 1992. The purpose of this study was to

explore the relationship of alcohol use to unsafe sex in Latinas. The study was

conducted using telephone interviews. The interviews were conducted with 523

currently sexually active Latinas aged 18-49 years old. The telephone survey

employed a modified Mitofsky-Waksberg sampling technique to identify Latino

households in nine states with concentrations of Latinos ranging from 5 to 39%

in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, Arizona,

Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Latinos in these states represent 77% of all

United States Latinos (Mar?n, 1992, 1103).

The screening procedure involved identifying the ethnicity, gender, and

age of household members. Potential respondents were asked “Do you or any of the

members of your household consider yourselves to be Latinos or Hispanics?” An

eligible respondent in the household was selected using the Kish method, which

lists all adult household members and then uses one of 12 possible selection

schemes to randomly select among those eligible (Mar?n, 1992, 1104).

Interviewers were bilingual males and females. Experienced interviewers

recruited respondents by telling them this was a national health survey and that

the topic was AIDS. Interviewers received specific training on how to ask the

highly personal questions used in this research (Mar?n, 1992, 1104).

A response rate in survey sampling can be defined as the ratio of the

number of questionnaires completed of eligible elements to the number of

eligible elements in the sample. Businesses, faxes, and non households were

ineligible for reporting. After these were eliminated, age and gender of adults

in the household was determined for 67.1% of eligible telephone numbers. Also

86.4% of those contacted who met the requirements for the study provided

complete interviews. A response rate of 58% for the entire sample was obtained

(Mar?n, 1992, 1104-5). The interviews were 100 open-ended calls, and two gender

exclusive focus groups with Latinos and Latinas in San Francisco. Its purpose

was to identify perceived consequences of condom use with secondary and primary

partners, difficulties with condom use, and the average aspects of use. The

final version of the interview took an average of 24 minutes to complete and

explored a variety of topics related to condoms and sexual behavior. The

questions mainly asked about alcohol use prior to sex, sexual comfort, self-

effectiveness scale, secondary partner response to condom use, and acculturation

(Mar?n, 1992, 1105).

Of the 624 Latinas aged 18-49 interviewed in this study, 523 (83.8%)

were sexually active. These women provided responses to the question about

alcohol use prior to sex. Fully 65% indicated that they never used alcohol prior

to sex, 28% said they used alcohol less than half the time, and only 7.5% used

alcohol half the time or more (Mar?n, 1992, 1106). The demographic

characteristics of Latinas who use or do not use alcohol before sex are shown in

the table below. There were a number of differences between the groups. Alcohol

users were younger [t(519) = 2.3, p < .05], better educated [t(519) = 2.7, p < .

01], more acculturated [t(519) = 2.3, p < .001], had fewer children [t(519) =

4.1, p < .001], and showed a trend toward being employed longer outside the home

[t(519) = 1.7/ p < .10] (Mar?n, 1992, 1106). To clarify the effect of

acculturation in this sample, depending on the level, the highly acculturated

women were more likely to have two or more sexual partners, more likely to use

alcohol before having sex, and more likely to use condoms with a secondary

partners (Mar?n, 1992, 1106).

In this study, alcohol use prior to sex was associated with greater

numbers of sexual partners., but also with more experience with condoms. Thus,

alcohol use prior to sex may be a marker for the broader process of

acculturation. Acculturation in Latinas has been associated with higher

likelihood of multiple sexual partners and with greater use of alcohol, but also

with higher likelihood of carrying condoms (Mar?n, 1992, 1109). In and

exploratory analysis we found that among those 55 women who reported secondary

partners, use of alcohol before sex was associated with greater condom use, even

with the effects of acculturation (Mar?n, 1992, 1109). This study does agree

with Mrs. Shalala’s hypothesis.

The second study was conducted in 1993. It was conducted to examine the

relationship between drug and alcohol use, personal network characteristics, and

sexual risk behaviors. The study focused on social factors that may account for

the relationship between substance use and sexual risk behaviors. In the study,

social environment factors such as drinking with friends, drinking in bars, and

patterns of purchasing alcohol with friends have been found to have a strong

influence on alcohol consumption, both in term of frequency and quantity.

Another factor the study wanted to examine was the relationship between use of

different substances and sexual behavior.

To conduct this study, respondents were recruited from the AIDS Linked

to Intravenous Experiences (ALIVE) study, a natural history study of HIV

infection in IDUs in Baltimore. The primary means of recruitment for the ALIVE

study were community outreach and word-of-mouth. ALIVE clinic participants who

were 18 years or older and reported at their regular 6-month follow-up visit

that they had injected drugs in the preceding 6 months and shared drugs were

asked to participate in the Stop AIDS for Everybody (SAFE) study. All

participants were administered a detailed survey on their background, drug, and

sexual behaviors followed by a personal network interview. The personal network

instrument asked participants to list, by giving the first name and the first

letter of the last name or pseudonym, members of their personal network. They

were first asked to list individuals that they had known for at least one month

who they could go to for support in the domains of: intimate interactions,

material assistance, socializing, physical assistance, positive feedback, and

health information (Latkin, 1993, 161-3).

Out of 297 volunteers, seven failed to meet the eligibility requirement

at rescreening. The 290 respondents were predominately of low income, African-

American (96%), male (84%), and reported receiving public assistance (70%)

(Latkin, 1993, 163). Within the last six months, 21% had been in jail and 40%

had been homeless. The average age for men was 39 years and the range was 24 to

56 years; for women the average age was 37 years, the median was 35, and the

range was 27 to 55 years. Daily use of alcohol was reported by 29% of the

respondents. Individuals who reported daily alcohol use drank significantly more

on the days they drank than those who reported drinking less than daily (mean of

11.1 vs. 5.2 drinks per day, t = 4.88, P

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