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ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERS
Alcohol consumption among teenagers is a major social and health problem that cannot be ignored.
Everyday a teenager is dying somewhere due to alcohol poisoning or accidents involving drunk driving.
This problem can only be addressed if research is carried out to understand the impact that alcohol abuse has on teenagers and the society as a whole. The main purpose for conducting this research is to find out the factors that lead to alcohol abuse among teenagers, explain the negative impact of alcohol consumption among teenagers and suggest measures that may be put in place to address this problem.
The research design used is both quantitative and qualitative. The population for this research is 45 which used stratified random sampling. Data will be collected using open and close ended questionnaires. It will be analyzed and presented using graphs and pie charts
Key words: Alcohol, teenagers, Alcohol abuse.
It is during teenagehood that many young people begin to experiment with alcohol. This is one of the most important stages of development. Early use of alcohol leads to greater abuse in future. Teenagers who engage in alcohol are at a higher risk of suffering negative social and health outcomes. Alcohol remains to be one of the major problems from teenage hood to adulthood throughout the world. Some of the negative impacts of alcohol abuse include motor vehicle injuries and deaths due to driving under the influence of alcohol, violence, crime, mental health problems, sexual risk taking and victimization.
The effects of alcohol in teenagers cannot be ignored. The purpose of this research is to examine the use of alcohol by teenagers, explain the dangers associated with alcohol abuse and suggest policies that can be used to regulate alcohol consumption and to reduce harms that are alcohol related.
Statement of the problem
The consequences arising from teenage alcohol consumption are many. Their effects are felt by families and societies in general. Teenage hood is a stage in life that is characterized by perfect physical health and high immunity thus low disease incidence. This not withstanding, many teenagers are succumbing to early deaths due to alcohol related injuries.
People have a tendency of treating alcohol as a drug that is socially acceptable, yet it can be proven that it is responsible for many deaths that are drug related among teenagers. Misuse of alcohol has various health risks. There is no safe drinking level for teenagers. The only safe drinking is no drinking especially for teenagers under the age of fifteen years. This research study will aim at studying the negative effects of alcohol on the user’s health and the impact underage drinking has individuals and society as a whole.
The purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to discuss the reason as to why teenagers engage in alcohol to explain the effects of underage drinking and to suggest policies that can be put in place to reduce the impact of alcohol use.ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERS Today the average age of a girl in America to have her first drink is 13 years while for a boy it is 11 years. Alcohol drinking among teenagers is a problem not only in America but in the world as a whole.
The consequences are serious and they are felt for many generation. Drunken teenagers are likely to be involved in crime, accidents and to have anxiety and depression. Others are likely to be suicidal, engage in reckless sexual behavior and later in life they will develop alcohol problems. It is therefore important to study how these effects affect normal life and how underage drinking can be minimized.
For the purpose of this study the following question were addressed:-
- What factors influence drinking among teenagers?
- What factors make parents responsible for the increase rates in teenage drinking?
- What are the effects of teenage drinking?
- What impacts does teenage drinking have on the society?
- What preventive measures should be put in place to prevent teenage drinking?
As part of this study, investigation included one research hypothesis.
Children who grow up in a social environment where alcohol consumption is accepted are more likely engaged in underage drinking and they are more likely to suffer negative effects arising from this which will last throughout their adulthood.
It is common for teenagers to experiment with alcohol. Unfortunately, these adolescents don’t see the connection between their current actions and tomorrow’s consequences. There is also a tendency where they feel immune and indestructible to the problems experiences by others (Horwood, 2000).
Alcohol usage at such a tender age has grave health effects. Some teenagers experiment for some time and stop. This group doesn’t have many significant problems. The group in danger is the one that develops a dependency, and gets hooked to the extent of being rehabilitated (Gmel, 2003).
Adolescents at a higher risk for developing alcohol problems include those who are depressed, those who have low self esteem, those with families that have depressed, those who have low self-esteem, those with families that have a history of alcohol abuse and those that feel misplaced like they are not in the mainstream and they don’t fit (Brown,2006).ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERS Alcohol use is associated with a wide variety of consequences which include failure in school, increased risk of alcohol abuse later in life, poor judgment which puts teenagers at risk for violence accidents, suicide and unsafe sex (Horwood, 2000).
There are many signs of adolescence alcohol use. These are physical signs including tiredness, frequent health complaints, red eyes and consistent coughing. Emotional signs include mood swings, changes in personality, irritability, depression, low self esteem, irresponsible behavior & poor judgement (Gmel, 2003). In family setting the teenager may start to break rules, start unnecessary arguments and even withdraw from the family.
They may also lose interest in school, develop a negative attitude, perform poorly, fall to attend classes and be generally in disciplined (Brown, 2006). Their social life will also be poor and they may face problems with the law as a general guideline parents who notice these warning signs should consult a physician, and follow up with an evaluation by a psychiatrist (Brown, 2006).
Effects of alcohol abuse among Teenagers
One of the major effects high risks of motor vehicle accidents, injuries and deaths. It is during teenage hood that young people indulge in alcohol as a social engagement. During parties and other social gatherings there is an increased rate of alcohol consumption. Research shows that at age 15 over 70% of teenagers were reported drinking, 30% of this drink at least once a month (Horwood, 2000). A driving license in the US is obtained at age 16 while a learner’s license is at age 15. These two events i.e. experimenting with drinking and acquiring a driver’s license lead to increases risk of irresponsible when drinking under the influence of alcohol which results into accidents, deaths and injuries.(Horwood, 2000).
Drunken teenagers are more likely to engage in a variety of crimes including vandalism, violence, sexual crimes, property crime& partner violence ( Brown, 2006). Video documented from CCTVs in public places show how alcohol abuse fuel those behaviors mainly antisocial by adolescents (Brown, 2006). High intake of alcohol leads to careless sexual indulgences mainly unprotected sex and multiple sexual partners. This leads to increases rates of unwanted pregnancies, abortions, STI and HIV/AIDS, suicidal tendencies & mental health problems. Increase consumption of alcohol leads to mental disorders and suicidal tendencies in young people (Gmel, 2003).
Factors influencing Alcohol Abuse by teenagers
Research shows that genetics is one of the factors that influence alcohol abuse among teenagers (Gmel, 2003). Up to 60% of alcohol dependency and abuse can be attributed to genetics.ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERS This combined with environment that encourages alcohol abuse will lead to increased alcohol misuse. Research shows that quality and nature of family setting plays a major role in how teenagers view Alcohol abuse. Parents with alcohol related problems are more likely to bring up children with the same problems. These children have a higher risk of having their first drink at an early age, facing childhood mistreating & growing up in a dysfunctional family.
Many young people are likely to engage in underage drinking if their friends engage in alcohol abuse. Easy access to alcohol is another major factor that contributes to increased rate of alcohol abuse among teenagers. These factors range from legal drinking age, alcohol price, licensing hours of alcohol, advertising, and enforcement of alcohol laws and availability of alcohol outlets. Research shows that if availability of alcohol to teenagers can be regulated it can influence the rates of use and misuse among teenagers.
Measures for Prevention and Management of Alcohol Abuse among Teenagers
One of the ways to manage alcohol consumption is to increase alcohol taxation. This raises the price of alcohol. There is evidence that this is one of the most effective ways of reducing alcohol consumption and related effects. ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERS Another way is regulating the availability of alcohol. This may be in form of reducing the sale hours, and controlling the location of sale outlets. One of the major regulations used all over the world is the age that alcohol can be bought legally. In the United States this age is 21.the law should reduce this age (Horwood, 2002)
Another regulating drink driving by enforcing laws related to drink driving penalties, random breath test and reducing the legal breath concentration of alcohol (Horwood, 2002). Restricting alcohol marketing and advertising will also reduce alcohol abuse among teenagers. Regulatory codes by the player in alcohol industry will also leads to reduce rates of alcohol consumption.
Role of policy intervention in reducing alcohol abuse among teenagers
There has been an increased concern by the public in the increased drinking by teenagers. Policy should focus on raising alcohol prices, increase the age for purchasing alcohol, reduce availability of alcohol, reduce advertising and marketing of alcohol and put in place counter measures for drink driving
This section discusses the research designs, target population, sampling design and procedure, data collection instrument, reliability and validity of the research instruments, data collection procedure and method of data analysis.
The research will employ a qualitative type of study. The main benefit of using qualitative research methods in a social research is that the subject of the research gets an opportunity to actively voice their opinion and such an opinion is not shaped by the methodological assumptions of quantitative research. In context to the research topic of this study, a qualitative method of enquiry is justified as the views on the impact of alcohol abuse among teenagers are highly subjective and difficult to measure by the researcher. ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERSThe use of qualitative research mode will facilitate an interpretive study of a particular issue where the researcher is central to deriving logic of the responses received from the respondents.
Qualitative researchers usually work with small populations, bound by unambiguous contexts, and studied in depth. The target population for this study is the young people representing both genders, aged between 13-19 years. This age group consists of students, who are the main victims of underage drinking.
Sample and Sampling procedure
A sample of 45 was taken. A stratified random sample of 3% was used. The choice of the ratio 1:0.03 was driven by the fact that it is reasonable, representative and manageable sample. Random sampling is advantageous because every member of the population have an equal opportunity of being selected thus the sample is representative.ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERS Stratified sampling is a method used to divide a population into homogenous strata and each stratum is then sampled individually. Strata used were in terms of teenagers characteristics which included: gender, age and occupation.
Once the research problem is defined and the available literature materials studied, research instruments are considered. This is an important part of the research study since the data that will be collected will be used to answer the research questions and help in generalization about the population. Both primary and secondary data collection techniques will be employed in the study. In the research fresh data as well as information from existing organizational records will be collected. The data collection instruments to be used for the study will be closed/open ended questionnaire. The secondary data will be collected from journals and reports
Structured questionnaires will be used in this study because they provide an opportunity for the respondents to give frank, anonymous answers while facilitating the collection of large amount of data in a short period of time. ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERSThe closed and open ended questionnaires were also proposed to avoid irrelevance. Some of the reasons why questionnaires were proposed are: the sensitivity of the issues under study; Questionnaires offer some anonymity (impersonal); the method is also economical. Questionnaire also helps to reduce bias errors that might result from personal characteristics of the interviewer and Due to the length of questions the respondents also require more time to respond to the questions. Questionnaires will also help those respondents who were not easily approachable.
Validity and Reliability
Validity is the ability of the research instrument to measure and generate the intended or desired results of the study. This is the most critical criterion that indicates the extent to which differences found with a measuring instrument reflect true differences among those being tested. The external validity of the questionnaires will be achieved by a pilot test. The purpose of the pilot test is to refine the questionnaire so that respondents don‘t face any problems answering the questions and to eliminate further problems in recording the data.
Pilot test ensures that the collected data will be helpful in answering the investigative question or research questions.ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERS Reliability of research instrument is the ability of the instrument to give out the same results at different places. This is the consistency of your measurement or the degree to which the instrument measures the same way each time it is used under the same condition with the same subject. It is the repeatability of your measurements
Data Collection Procedure
The returned questionnaires will be edited and checked for completeness, consistency and accuracy. The complete responses will be coded and entered into a spreadsheet, SPSS (statistical package for social sciences). Data will be analyzed using qualitative and quantitative techniques. Quantitative data will be analyzed using percentages and measure of central tendency. Qualitative data analysis will be based on the open ended questionnaire to reveal in-depth information about the research variables. The output will be presented in the form of pie charts, bar graphs and frequency tables. Correlation analysis will be carried out to find whether there is relationship between alcohol abuse among teenagers and negative health and social well-being.
Recommendations for Future Research
The Researcher has come across many interesting topics while conducting this research. In fact, some of the results from the current research generated important questions to be explored. An important aspect to be explored can be the role that treatment centres dealing with alcohol abuse can play to reduce alcoholism among teenagers.ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ITS IMPACTS ON TEENAGERS Another major area to explore is reasons why alcohol education in schools does not seem to have a major impact in the reduction of alcohol abuse. Finally, impact of advertising and marketing alcohol needs to be researched on.
Cooper, M (1984). ‘Research Interviews, New Library World,
Deaod , Brown(2006). Adolescents Substance Abuse and Psychiatrists Commorbodities Journal
Gmel, G. (2003). Harmful Alcohol Use.Alcohol Research and Health. of Clinical Psychiatry, 67(2), 76-89
Horwood, L. (2000). Drink Driving and Traffic accidents in Young People. Accidents Analysis and Prevention, 200(32), 805-814
I am a student (Customer’s details). As part of my course requirement, I am required to undertake a research project relevant to the course. My research project is based on ―Alcohol abuse and its impact on teenagers. Attached is a questionnaire that seeks your opinion.
I would be grateful if you would complete the form as genuinely as you can. Any information you will give will be treated with utmost confidentiality and no single response will be reported on its own but as a summation of all respondents.
Upon completing the Questionnaire, you are not to include your name. Thank you for taking your time to fill in the questionnaire.
PART A. Demographic Profile
- What is your age?
- What is your gender?
- What is your profession?
- Others (Please Specify)
- Have you ever consumed Alcohol………..
- If Yes. In whose company?………………………………..
- Do your parents allow alcohol in the house…………………..
- Have you ever driven under the influence of Alcohol…………..
- Where do you buy alcohol?………………
- How many times in a month do you consume alcohol?
10.Have you ever missed school because of being drunk/ Hangover…………..