Date of Award

8-1994

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Health Science

Abstract

Over 1400 public school students in grade 7-12 were surveyed with an anonymous questionnaire to determine the relative ability of the social context scales and the perceived norm scales to explain adolescent alcohol use intensity, frequency of alcohol-impaired driving, and frequency of riding with an alcohol-impaired driver. It was found that during the twelve month period prior to the survey, 54.2% of all students had used alcohol on at least one occasion, 13.8% had driven a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and 41.8% had ridden with an alcohol-impaired driver. A multiple regression analysis showed that the drinking context of Social Facilitation was most closely related to alcohol use intensity. However, Close Friends' Drinking Intensity, Stress Control, and Peer Acceptance, School/Defiance, and Family also had independent relationships with alcohol use intensity. In two separate discriminant analyses, Social Facilitation was the best discriminator of the two driver groups (impaired versus non-impaired), whereas Close Friends' RWID Frequency was the best discriminator of the two passenger groups (riders of impaired drivers versus riders of non-impaired drivers). These findings indicate that effective alcohol abuse prevention programs will have to address the needs adolescents have for socializing and fun, and that a key to reducing alcohol abuse is altering perceptions of normative drinking practices.

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