Drinking is as much a common behavior today as it is complex. There is need to broaden the variety of issues studied particularly regarding the analysis of economic, political and ecological factors that have so far received limited studies than the many psychological issues that haunt the outcomes of habits such as drinking. There are a number of factors that constitute the alcohol environment on campus as well as its surroundings. Factors that make up the college environment include drinking traditions, peer groups, intercollegiate athletics, and residential systems. On the other hand, factors that constitute the alcohol environment within campus include the availability of alcohol, its price, the quantity available, and exposure to advertising. The alcohol environment off-campus is made up of components such as the retail price of alcohol, the outlet density, proximity to outlets, quantity accessible, and advertising. This research paper examines the alcohol situation in the college environment by answering three main research questions:
1. What is the origin of alcohol abuse?
2. What makes alcohol abuse a social norm among students?
3. What impacts does alcohol abuse have on students and excessive drinkers in general?
It is important to understand that universities and colleges vary greatly. Researchers and higher education administrators have discovered that by making use of standard schemes, they can capture the different institutional types that are available. The existence of a wide range of college assortments has created awareness among researchers of the importance that lies behind specifying the exact type of institution that one includes in his or her study. Other categories of institutions may prove essential to ones study while some may not add any considerable value to the discussion.
The high level of alcohol abuse that is evident today simply begun as a leisure activity that many students especially athletes used to blow off steam in the early days. It was a form of celebrating good results and over the years, it became a form of celebration for any special event. As such, any celebration is rendered incomplete without the availability of alcohol. The beverage is an easily accessible and cheap source of high for many college students in the United States. In other countries where it is a bit expensive however, many college students find themselves saving up for one-night parties and spending every penny on alcohol (Moreno, et. al, 2012, p. 158). It has become a social norm because many students have an urge to live in the moment and try and forget unlucky occurrences in their lives. In addition, many students feel left out when their colleagues go out to have fun, Due to the desire to belong and pass time in another manner, such students end up succumbing to alcohol influences and with time, they become members of the pack.
There are campus environments in which excessive drinking is not encouraged and there are those institutions where the practice has become a social phenomenon. Many college students, for example, simply do not pay enough attention to information presented to them regarding the effects of alcohol consumption. Because of increased alcohol consumption among college students, there has been a rise in pregnancy, injury, and property destruction cases. However, apart from the physically evident effects associated with excessive drinking, there are health effects, which require professional help to uncover. They include cancers, and alcohol poisoning which may at times results in death (Iwamoto, et.al, 2011, p. 909). These cases are on the increase in most countries because students go into college believing that excessive drinking is a social norm. The extent to which the practice has become a social norm has blinded students with the realization of when it becomes abusive. The possible effects of alcohol consumption include intoxication, anxiety reduction, and sensory alteration. Symptoms associated with excessive drinking include staggering, slurred speech, and loss of coordination. In turn, there are permanent effects such as nerve and liver damage.
Studies have revealed that most college students drink more when they are in groups. This tendency puts across the message of increased peer influence levels in colleges and universities. The problem of peer influence has become so rampant that in the case of drinking, there is no legal age. According to earlier studies, students whose ages range between eighteen and twenty-one tend to drink a lot than those who are aged above twenty-one. Added statistics show that forty percent of college students report excessive drinking cases and nearly four percent drink on a daily basis (Velazquez, et. al, 2012, p. 170). Excessive drinking moreover varies depending on ones gender. For males, binge drinking speaks for five drinks whereas in the case of females, it speaks for four drinks.
Alcohol abuse has become such a common practice that it needs the efforts of both the producers and parents to coach students and kids altogether of the dire effects of excessive drinking. However, the question of the role of the producer has remained a mystery since it has been proven that alcohol producers are today trying at any means to influence teenagers in plenty of their advertisements. For instance, Budweiser uses a range of small cute animals to promote its products. When presented in form of animations, it is obvious that these advertisements will appeal to children in a given way. As a result, the task of purifying the innocent bodies of teenagers lies with their parents and school instructors.Methodology
To understand the trend of binge drinking and the effects it continues to have on abusers, I will rely on questionnaires and face-to-face interviews with some of the students who are actively engaging in the practice as well as those who have abandoned it. To distinguish between the two, I will include clear clauses in my questionnaires to aid those who I engage in filling out the questionnaires appropriately. To simplify my requirements, I will focus my questions on the three research questions I have stated in my thesis statement. This way I can gain important insights such as how those that are deep into the practice began it. If they learnt it by observing their parents or friends or if it was self-decided. In addition, I can obtain a list of symptoms, which are evident among students who abuse alcohol.
Apart from the questionnaires and one-on-one interviews with college students, I have opted to personally observe the behavior of binge drinkers by visiting synonymous hang out joints and watching the behavior of students when they report to their hostels in the early hours of the morning. By visiting the famous joints where students go to to get drunk, I can distinguish those that are already integrated in the practice and those that are new to it. I will also be able to tell how the innocent students are coerced into drinking by other binge drinkers and how they react to such suggestions. To understand the real reason as to why some of the students choose to be in such joints, I will engage them in conversations as a member of the crowd. This way, I can also be able to tell if they came in groups or if they individually escorted themselves to the hang out joints.
The number of students in college is quite huge. As a result, I will rely on the help of my friends to also visit other group hangouts and rely whatever information they think is relevant to me. The number of cases involving students who have faced fatal situations within college is also significant (Cronce & Larimer, 2011, p. 210). To understand the threats excessive drinking poses to irresponsible college students, I will also carry out formal enquiries from the colleges student healthcare and wellbeing department. This way, I can draw conclusive evidence as regards to why certain students suffer certain effects and the kind of students who are currently at high risk of being exposed to such effects.
Obviously, the number of students who are exposed to such effects is self-evident. However, with professional help, I can deduce the required measures, which can be put in place to prevent the habit from spreading and becoming even much more common among high school students. As such, I will have to explore the views of professional healthcare practitioners and other victims who are experiencing the consequences of excessive drinking and are currently in treatment (Read, et. al, 2012, p. 426). Using their insights, I can establish the most common symptoms and compare them to those included in the questionnaires I handed out to students who are already alcoholics. Using such evidenced findings, I can even draw forecasts suggesting the number of students who will succumb to illness because of alcoholism and provide detailed information supporting my suggestions.
To ensure all the students I engage in my research meet the requirements, I have decided to limit my participants to only those who can provide accurate details regarding their historical medical records. If there are any medical cases worth mentioning, I have provided space for that in my questionnaires and incorporated the subject as one of my interview questions. In addition, I have ensured my participants display to me documents suggesting they are aged twenty-one and above to ensure my findings are credible and legally compiled. The problem of alcohol abuse has become common even among students from poor backgrounds because the beverage is cheap to obtain. As a result, I have included social class as one of the determinant factors in the questionnaire. Sexuality is also a secret to many people and especially students since for many, exposing it would render them socially inactive.
To guarantee the confidentiality of my participants identity, sexuality and other critical matters such as health records, I have included confidentiality statements at the end of my questionnaires as well as in my interview questions that bound me to retaining desired confidentiality. The college officials also play an important role in ensuring order in the campus environment. Using their help, I have secured the needed security assurance as regards to records I obtain. To avoid exposure of the answers provided in the questionnaires I will provide, I have decided to personally request specific individuals to support my research by answering the questionnaires. Hence I shall privately issue each individual with a questionnaire, let them fill it out and remain with it. Where the individual opts to leave with the questionnaire, I note their names to ensure I respond to any cases of exposed confidentiality. The questionnaires will provide more than enough information to also render me accountable for any exposed confidentialities. As a result, I shall personally take responsibility for any such cases once the questionnaires are in my possession.
This research proposal provides an insight into the practice as a social norm in college and some of its significant health impacts. To support my answer regarding the evolving practice, the paper also explains in detail how the practice has come to be a social norm.
Cronce, J. M., & Larimer, M. E. (2011). Individual-focused approaches to the prevention of college student drinking. Alcohol research & health: the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 34(2), 210.Iwamoto, D. K., Cheng, A., Lee, C. S., Takamatsu, S., & Gordon, D. (2011). Man-ing up and getting drunk: The role of masculine norms, alcohol intoxication and alcohol-related problems among college men. Addictive behaviors, 36(9), 906-911.Moreno, M. A., Christakis, D. A., Egan, K. G., Brockman, L. N., & Becker, T. (2012). Associations between...
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