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
wrong.
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 (Marín, 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 (Marín, 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 (Marín, 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
(Marín, 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,