Tuesday, May 1, 2012


College drinking exists as something much greater than an individual or local problem.  It must be seen as a social phenomenon in order to directly understand the significance of this issue. Throughout America, excessive or binge drinking happens on a daily basis and is happening for a variety of reasons.  One must first understand the factors that lead into drinking, the first being precursors within the individual. Family history, personality, experience with alcohol, etc.  The second is understanding the environment.  The environment in which college drinking even exists is one of the primary causes for this behavior.  The social norms and pressures faced at school along with the overbearing presence of alcohol creates an ecosystem of underage drinkers who partake in often times, reckless and dangerous behavior. Many see alcohol as an escape or an excuse in order to act outside of their normal behavior, and because of this, alcohol transforms the student body into a unique population.  College culture revolves around alcohol.  It can be linked to nearly all of the social aspects of college life, along with negative effects in academics, and often times legal issues. It can affect those who drink and also those who do not.  This research will explore this controversy in a new light in order to fully understand why this is happening, how alcohol affects student culture, and what can be done to stop it.

Research paper

  College Drinking: Shaping Student Culture

    Death, illness, violence, and crime.  These are the consequences of excessive drinking.  The side-effects of a social elixir both socially healthy and morally wrong.  Liquid courage, a social lubricant, a way to ease the pain.  Liquor, booze, sauce, or hootch.  Whatever the name, alcohol is a drink of controversy.  It is the drug of choice across America and even more so within the American university. “Students enrolled in 4-year colleges comprise one of the heaviest-drinking groups in America” (Wechsler and Nelson).  But what else in new?  People are well aware of the fact that college kids drink, and drink a lot.  After all, it’s mentioned in the headlines all the time.  It can be seen in movies and on TV.  Everyone has their stories, and if not, there’s always that one friend who drank too much back in college.  Binge drinking is a significant part of college culture. And even if one does not drink, alcohol is still all around.  From bars to parties to restaurants and liquor stores,  there is no shortage of the hard stuff.  It is simply unavoidable.  But why is it that the American university provides such an environment?  Why is there such a need for this substance?  Ever since colleges were first established, alcohol has played an important role in the development of the student body.  It has shaped nearly every aspect of college life from social activity to academic success and is responsible for a large percentage of campus crime and even death.  Alcohol plays the leading role in college culture, it nearly controls every part of the student population and without it, college culture would not be the way it is today.
    But excessive drinking among college students was once seen as an insignificant problem and a personal one at best.  It was once believed that binge drinking was only damaging to the individual, when in fact it is just as harmful on a larger scale to the entire student body.  Binge drinking affects college students as a whole and not just within one specific school, but on a national level.
Heavy alcohol use among college students reflects a problem that is beyond simply a psychological, clinical, or developmental problem; it is one that is firmly rooted in the culture of college and in an environment that promotes a heavy-drinking lifestyle. Alcohol use and the problems that result from excessive drinking have been part of the American college experience since colonial days, although intensive study of this issue has not occurred until more recently”(Wechsler and Nelson).

So one must look at this issue as a social phenomenon rather than a personal vice.   To get an understanding of how alcohol can shape student culture, one must first “shift away from a narrowly individualistic concern with a few ‘alcoholic’ students towards a focus on a widespread and potentially dangerous form of alcohol abuse tied to the college population and its environment”(Dowdall, 40).  Unless society recognizes college drinking in this manner, nothing can be done to truly understand the issue and in turn, little can be done to stop it.  But even recently, many still did not see the issue of college drinking as a serious problem.  It was held by many major colleges and universities that the presence of binge drinking on campus was not a significant concern.  “In 2002 only 15% of the schools interviewed considered alcohol a ‘major’ problem.  Of the total number of schools surveyed, 66% reported alcohol use a problem but 17% considered it ‘minor’ and 3% didn’t see a problem at all” (Wechsler).  With this attitude on college drinking , the issue could never be resolved.  But as schools begin to reframe their perception on college drinking, the problem can finally be addressed properly and more can be done to prevent consumption amongst students.  
Despite the large number of universities that have considered alcohol a “minor” problem, alcohol still has severe negative effects on student body.  As stated previously, college students make up one of the largest drinking groups in America.  “Of the estimated 8 million college students (ages 18-24), 31% meet the criteria for a diagnosis for alcohol abuse (Knight et al., 2002). Moreover, their alcohol use is associated with multiple negative consequences, including physical and sexual aggression, health and academic difficulties, serious injuries, and traffic related deaths” (Fromme and Corbin).  Clearly, excessive drinking among students is much more major than it is minor. To begin to understand how alcohol can shape student culture, one must first look at the the physical consequences of college drinking. It is generally understood that alcohol is physically damaging to the individual and can cause a variety of afflictions.  From heart complications to liver failure, alcohol is an extremely toxic drug in high doses.  And seeing how college students drink in excess, clearly there are severe consequences as a result.  According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) “It is estimated that 1,700 college students between the  ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (about half among students under 21) (Wechsler and Nelson). The NIAAA also reports annually that an estimated 599,000 students are injured as a result of alcohol on college campuses.  More than 97,000 individuals report sexual abuse, 400,000 claim to have unsafe sex, and 100,000 claim to have been too intoxicated to remember giving sexual consent.   It is also “estimated that more than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking each year (430,000 of them by a college student under 21) (Johnston).  As alcohol soaks into the bodies and minds of these young individuals, the student population becomes affected as a whole.  These are not problems that affect simply one or two people, but hundreds of thousands on a national scale every year.  Alcohol shapes the physical student body on a daily basis.  It is responsible for sending students to the hospital and even to their graves.  It clearly transforms college culture in a severely negative way and creates a dangerous environment for those who drink and also those who do not. A student who does not drink may not risk an overdose, but that individual can still be harmed due to others around them.  George Dowdall, author of College Drinking: Reforming a Social Problem, coined this term as the “secondhand binge effect.”  
This secondhand effect creates problems for the drinker and to those in his or her immediate environment. Those who do not drink are constantly at the mercy of the inebriants around them. “Secondhand effects range in severity from typically nuisance disorders such as finding vomit in one's residence, to serious offenses including sexual and/or physical assault. Risks for secondhand effects mount substantially in high-binge college settings. Secondhand effects are also experienced by residents of communities nearby colleges, particularly those in which larger percentages of students binge drink”(Weitzman).  Whatever the case, alcohol still affects everyone.  In 2001 the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study published findings that showed how even non-drinkers suffered at the hands of alcohol. Non-drinking students were asked to report any alcohol related problems.  Of the total number surveyed, 14% of non-drinking students reported educational problems as a result of alcohol.  20% reported psychological problems,  15% said that alcohol caused anti-sociality, 10% for high-risk sex, and 26% reported drinking and driving.  While none of these individuals actually consumed alcohol, they were still impacted by it nonetheless.
While alcohol clearly has many physical effects on the student population, one must also realize the impact it has on academic performance. Many do not pay enough attention to this consequence of college drinking and simply overlook the issue  Alcohol is responsible for a large portion of academic stress among college students. “About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall”(Baer).  Nearly one quarter of the entire student population suffers academically due to alcohol.  That is a significant number.  This accounts for hundreds of thousands of students nationwide.  
There is also a strong correlation between campus crime and the use of alcohol among college students.  Recent studies have proven that many of the on-campus crimes are directly caused as a result of excessive drinking.  “Independent researchers such as Ruth Engs and David Hanson published data about the links between campus crime and alcohol use” (Dowdall, 39).  Their findings included proof that cases of violence and sexual abuse are typically caused by intoxicated students.  Dowdall also notes that “a review of published studies concluded that alcohol was involved in  two-thirds of college student suicides, in 90 percent of campus rape, and in 95 percent of violent crime”(65).  Along with these findings, the NIAAA also claims that “about 11 percent of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol” (Johnston).
Now that the physical and academic consequences of college drinking have been explored, one must understand the reasons behind binge drinking in the first place.  Obviously college students are aware of many of these repercussions, but still, drinking continues regardless of the evidence.  This is due to two primary reasons among several others that will also be discussed. The first being precursors within the individual, the second is the environment.  Many experts believe that personality plays an important figure in the development of college drinking. In 2000, The Department of Psychology at Haverford College conducted a study to see if there exists any correlation between personality and alcohol use. “This research extended the work on personality by using the Big Five Factor personality inventory, which measures the five dimensions of personality - Neuroticism or emotional stability, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness” (Davis).  Based on these 5 factors, researchers concluded that people are more or less susceptible to drink in large quantities due to their personalities.  Their findings also suggested that these traits are also extremely important precursors when viewed in specific drinking environments.  Additional data has also been collected which proves that personal characteristics distinguish certain drinking behaviors in college.  The Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study noted that
Young people come to campus with social demographic, family and drinking histories that influence their drinking in college. For example, one out of every 10 college students reports growing up with a problem drinking parent and, once in college, these young people either abstain from alcohol at greater than expected rates or disproportionately engage in binge drinking and abuse alcohol (Weitzman).

Drinking tendencies before college also can dictate the behaviors expressed in post-secondary school. It is believed that individuals that drink in excess before entering college are at greater risk for alcohol abuse in the future.  
    And while personal reasons do have a lot to do with college drinking, many feel it is not so much the person as it is his or her surroundings. “Far less attention has been given to the environmental factors that may influence college student drinking.  These include state, local, and college-level laws; policies regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol; and the enforcement of these standards”(Wechsler and Nelson).  The actual physical environment is also extremely influential.  Oftentimes known as a “wet-environment” (due to the overwhelming presence of alcohol) this habitat provides students with an easy access to alcohol almost everywhere they go.  Because alcohol is so readily available, experts believe this causes drinking to happen more frequently within the university.  Look around any college campus.  Alcohol is everywhere.  Every party has it, people bring it to sports events, it flows throughout Greek life, it can be found most houses and dorm rooms.  Virtually any environment within a university contains some form of alcohol.  Alcohol is also relatively inexpensive within the college environment.  If it can be found almost everywhere and for a low price, obviously students are more likely to drink; they are essentially submerged in the presence of alcohol all the time.  “The overall alcohol environment shapes the level of drinking in a community, with the cost of alcohol, its promotion through advertising and marketing, and its availability”(Dowdall, 41).  
Understanding some of the reasons behind college drinking will help to better understand the social transformation alcohol induces.  Many have termed alcohol as a “social lubricant,” meaning that it allows for easier social transactions between students.  Typically if a situation feels uncomfortable, alcohol can relieve social stress.  “In the eyes of college students, drinking solves some issues in establishing themselves in a new social environment, easing the transition from high school and adolescent roles to college and adult ones” (Dowdall, 46).  Many find that entering into higher education causes a great deal of social expectation and many simply cannot cope on their own.  So alcohol becomes introduced as a lubricant to make the transition easier. Because this transition is new to most students, many do not initially understand the norms of drinking and thus drink in excess.  When this occurs, oftentimes students become engaged in reckless and dangerous behaviors. In an article written by Sharon Jayson in USAToday, titled “College Drinking Is Liberating, and a Good Excuse." studies found that many college students use alcohol as an excuse for their reckless behaviors, claiming that if they partake in activities which they find inappropriate they can simply blame their actions on alcohol.  This paradoxical circumstance allows students to act outside of their normal behavior and then put all the blame on something other than themselves.  In any other environment, do this would be seen as a social taboo, but in a college environment this behavior happens quite regularly, and is generally accepted.  This is primarily due to the fact that many college students are still exploring themselves and are trying to define their individual identity.  Alcohol also gives students a crutch in overcome many social anxieties.  Jayson calls this “liquid courage” meaning that alcohol enables students to socialize and behave more freely due to the fact that previous inhibitions are no longer present.  Because of this, social networks are formed within the student body.
Meeting new people at parties is a common activity.  Because of alcohol, many are able to interact with others that fit into their circle.  Heavy drinkers will socialize with others who drink in a similar manner while occasional and non-drinkers will create cliques with similar characteristics. Alcohol shapes the social culture of students by creating a basic ranking system within the student body.  This aspect of college drinking also accounts for the popularity of drinking games within college.  A drinking game creates a way to show status among students.  To competitively drink against others, one can rank above the rest of his or her peers.  It is a way to represent social dominance and also to impress others in order to become accepted in a new environment. Drinking games are also used as a way to casually interact with individuals of a higher age and also of the opposite sex. In an essay titled, "Drinking Games, Binge Drinking and Risky Sexual Behaviors among College Students,” written by L. Simmons, “Almost all of the students reported drinking or using drugs to enhance sex”( 33). While there is little evidence that supports a correlation between sex and drinking games, many perceive competitive drinking as a way to sexually engage the opposite gender without becoming overbearing or sexually aggressive.
Athletic students and also those involved in Greek life typically drink more than those outside of these organizations and partake in drinking games quite frequently.  This is because drinking is used as a way to break social barriers between upper and lower classmen and also plays into the competitive aspect of college drinking.  According to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol, “Men tend to be greater risk takers than women, most likely because of the following; (1) societal expectations of the masculine tendency toward risky behavior (Kelling et al., 1976) known as the ‘risk-as-value hypothesis’; and (2) a relatively greater tendency toward sensation seeking (Zuckerman, 1979)” (Benton, Benton, and Downey).  Drinking has become a means of displaying masculinity within athletics and fraternal life.  This also establishes a tight-knit group of individuals who function within certain social norms.  Because of alcohol, and this applies to to all students, social diversity exists within the college campus.  Alcohol creates social classes of students and causes unique behavioral patterns to unfold. Alcohol can dictate who socializes with who and can determine social classes within the student body.
College drinking has many major impacts on nearly all the aspects of college life and while it is rooted in so many aspects, it still is a dangerous social phenomenon that needs to be reformed.  While there have been several attempts at fixing this problem, “clearly efforts to eliminate underage drinking have failed” (alcoholnews.org).  Little is known about the solutions to this issue, and evidence supporting the success of these solutions is scarce.  Some experts suggest that there are several ways in which college drinking can be handled.  Some believe in altering the current drinking age.  Some believe it would be beneficial to lower the minimum drinking age from 21 others find that the drinking age should actually increase.  The human brain is not fully developed until around the age of 23 so many believe this is when alcohol should be legally available.  On the other hand, lowering the drinking age could theoretically reduce the amount of legal infringements caused by underage drinking.  Another more popular approach is to increase the amount of alcohol prevention and awareness programs at schools across the country.   “Eighty-four percent of schools that received public funding for their alcohol education-prevention programming considered their programming a success” (Wechsler and Nelson).  One study composed by Wesley Perkins concluded that many college students drink simply because they misunderstand the drinking norms at school.  While nearly 60% of students drink alcohol, only about 40% actual binge drinks.  Perkins proposed that if students were more aware of the fact that less than half the student population drank in excess, then less people would continue to do it.  However, “One study did find a change in perception after a brief social norms campaign, but described the impact on personal behavior as a failure”(Perkins, Haines, and Rice). One final approach to reforming college drinking would be to allow “safe” drinking environments for students.  A safe environment would be a situation in which college faculty and staff drink amongst the students and monitor their behavior.  Students would be less likely to over-drink or act foolishly if they were under the supervision of one of their professors.  Already this strategy has been adopted by several schools across the country including Rutgers University.  But because these methods are relatively new, there is still little proof than any of these solutions actually work.     
College drinking.  An issue unlike any other.  A problem that exists as a social concern that stretches far beyond the reaches of any personal problem.  Alcohol among college students is responsible for shaping the culture college students practice.  It causes crime, physical harm, academic dismay, and obscure social behaviors.  Alcohol controls and shapes the student body on a daily basis in nearly every possible way, and unless one truly understand the problem, little can be done to fix it.  Evidence shows that this issue is just recently being understood.  New studies are coming in across the country trying to figure out exactly why this is happening and how it affects the student body. But because this issue has only recently been looked at as a social crisis, still not much is know about any possible solutions.  In future years perhaps social norms will be rearranged in order to keep alcohol from transforming the college population.

Works Cited
Baer, John S. "Student Factors: Understanding Individual Variation in College Drinking."  
            Collegedrinkingprevention.gov. 23 Sept. 2005. Web. 5 May 2012.
Benton, Stephen L., Sherry A. Benton, and Ronald G. Downey. "College Student Drinking,
Attitudes toward Risks, and Drinking Consequences." Journal of Studies on Alcohol 67.4
(2006): 543-51. Print.
Davis, Doug. "Personality and Situational Factors as Predictors of Alcohol Use by College
Students." Haverford.edu. Haverford College Department of Psychology, May 2000.
Web. 3 Apr. 2012. <http://www.haverford.edu/psych/alcohol%20study/alcoholstudy.00.summary.html>.
Dowdall, George W. College Drinking: Reframing a Social Problem. Westport, CT: Greenwood
Group, 2009. Print.
Fromme, K., and W. Corbin. "Prevention of Heavy Drinking and Associated Negative
Consequences among Mandated and Voluntary College Students." Journal of Consulting
and Clinical Psychology 72(6) (2004): 1038-049. Print.
Jayson, Sharon. "College Drinking Is Liberating, and a Good Excuse." Usatoday.com. Gannett
Co. Inc., 22 Aug. 2011. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2011/08/College-drinking-is-liberating-and-a-good-excuse/50080738/1>.
Johnston, LD. "Statistical Snapshot of College Drinking." Nih.gov. National Institute of Health,
2008. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.
Perkins, H. Wesley, Michael P. Haines, and Richard Rice. "Misperceiving the College Drinking
Norm and Related Problems: A Nation-wide Study of Exposure to Prevention
Information, Perceived Norms and Student Alcohol Misuse." Journal of Studies on
Alcohol 66.4 (2005): 470-78. Print.
Simons, L., V. Lantz, S. Klichine, and L. Ascolese. "Drinking Games, Binge Drinking and Risky
Sexual Behaviors among College Students." CINAHL. EBSCO, 2 Mar. 2006. Web. 29 Apr. 2012.
STATS. "Underage Drinking." Alcoholnews.org. The Statistical Assessment Service, Apr. 2005.
        Web. 2 Apr. 2012. <http://alcoholnews.org/Underage%20drinking.html>.
Wechsler, H., and TF Nelson. "College Alcohol Study." Harvard.edu. Harvard School of Public
Health, 2005. Web. 03 Apr. 2012. <http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/>.
Wechsler, Henry, and Toben F. Nelson. "Binge Drinking in College Students." SAGE. Web. 2                                          
Weitzman, ER. "Social Developmental Overview of Heavy Episodic or Binge Drinking Among
U.S. College Students." Hsph.harvard.edu. Harvard School of Public Health, 2004. Web.
19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/Documents/socdevel-article/>.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review

Personality and Situational Factors as Predictors of Alcohol Use by College Students
Clara Gruen & Karen Hooker
Doug Davis, Advisor
Haverford College
Department of Psychology
May 2000

According to the college alcohol study conducted by Haverford College, the role of personality plays a huge part in the behaviors exhibited while individuals become intoxicated.  Studies found that different types of personalities correlate either positively or negatively with the drinking patterns of students.  The study broke down the personalities into "neuroticism, extraversion, openness/intellect, agreeableness, and concientiousness" and based on these groupings scientists could determine the likelihood and frequency of alcohol use among students.  

Neuroticism, or emotional stability. It includes the traits of anxiety, anger and hostility, depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness, and vulnerability
Extraversion includes traits such as warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement seeking, and positive emotions
Openness to Experience includes the facets fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas, and values

Agreeableness includes the traits trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, and tender mindedness
Conscientiousness includes the personality traits of confidence, order, dutifulness, achievement striving, self-discipline, and deliberation

The researchers also examined the scenarios in which students commonly used alcohol. "Drinking Situations: The top six reported situations for drinking were small party (3-10 people), room with friends, pre-party, campus party, bar or club, and restaurant."  Based on these situations, the researchers created data that represented the behaviors exhibited in a variety of possible environments.
 The results: "Main effects for personality were found. The dimensions of Extraversion, Agreeableness and Openness were found to both correlate with and predict alcohol use." The other personality traits showed a negative correlation with drinking alcohol so the researchers concluded that there is strong evidence supporting the role of personality when it comes to drinking. 

This research found main effects for personality and situational factors as predictors of alcohol use by college students. This study is particularly valuable with its addition of a complete personality measure to the study of alcohol use by college students. It also used a more in depth look at situations than some previous studies. Its significant findings for the different personality scales and for situations and reasons is an important addition to the previous research on this topic. Future research should be done to explore some of the factors not concentrated on in this study, such as gender, to find a better measure of situations and reasons to predict alcohol use, and to compare this sample to other samples in terms of personality and alcohol use.

Davis, Doug. "Personality and Situational Factors as Predictors of Alcohol Use by College Students." Haverford.edu. Haverford College Department of Psychology, May 2000. Web. 3 Apr. 2012. <http://www.haverford.edu/psych/alcohol%20study/alcoholstudy.00.summary.html>.

below is a brief resume of Douglas A. Davis: the administrator who supervised the experiment
     1981 - 1983: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University: Harvard Adolescence Project
·         1974 Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: Personality Psychology
·         1966 B.A., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis: Psychology
Occupational History
·         2006-present Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Haverford College
·         1972-2006 Department of Psychology, Haverford College
Courses taught:
·         Foundations of Personality
·         Adolescence
·         Adolescence lab
·         Theories of Personality
·         1972 Trainee Development Officer, U.S. Peace Corps Training (India)
·         1971 Cross-Cultural Coordinator, U.S. Peace Corps Training (Morocco)
·         1967-1970 Teaching Fellow, University of Michigan  


Monday, April 2, 2012

Research Proposal

    As college life and student culture continues to change with the current times, students are gradually evolving into a new and very unique generation.  It is obvious that modern factors such as demographics, economic class, past experience, future goals, and social life all change the way in which students function throughout their college years.  But no matter where a student is from, how old they are, or what they plan to do in life, the consumption of alcohol is still extremely relevant.  While it is generally understood that college students like to participate in underage drinking due to social reasons, many are unaware of the major impacts it has on the student population.  In most cases, the general population accepts the use of alcohol among college students. It is widely tolerated and in many ways, expected to happen.  And while most of us understand the psychical consequences of excessive drinking, many are still blind to the effects it has on the overall student body.  Experts believe that alcohol is responsible for the poor actions and behaviors of students.  Alcohol is said to cause violence, unsafe sex, poor grades, depression, anxiety, and for students to miss classes or even drop out of school.  But what if alcohol is merely the catalyst for these problems?  What if these things would occur naturally on their own without the consumption of alcohol?  Could it be that today’s generation is more rebellious, independent from authority, or perhaps less mature?  Then again, maybe it is the lack of federally-funded prevention programs being provided at universities.  As more and more schools across the country are becoming privatized, less programs are now available to aid in the prevention of underage and excessive drinking among college students.

Is alcohol responsible for many of the problems faced by college students, or does it simply amplify pre-existing problems within the individual?  How is student life affected morally, socially, and academically by alcohol?  And is alcohol use more likely to happen in private institutions?

    According to many recent studies and surveys taken around the country, which interviewed thousands of college undergraduates,  many students believe alcohol can be used as an excuse in order to maintain a good status in the eyes of the public.  Meaning, if an individual believes they are a “good” person, when they get drunk and act immaturely, they can simply blame their actions on alcohol.  An article in USAToday found that alcohol is a great excuse for students to use when they take part in behaviors they are not proud of.  An excerpt from the article,  written by Sharon Jayson, states, “‘I was drunk so I hooked up with that guy’ ‘I was drunk so I missed my class in the morning’ ‘I was drunk so I got in a fight.’ If it’s something they’re not proud of, it gives them an excuse.”  So based on this detail I have become increasingly interested in finding whether or not underage drinking happens due to individual personality or if it has something to do with the environment.
The average binge drinker statistically reports having more stress and also struggles academically.  But how can it be that alcohol affects all these students in the same way? Perhaps these students are naturally anxious people and academics are harder for them than for the remaining population.  A major study conducted by collegedrinkingprevention.gov concluded that an individuals personality is a major factor in the behaviors observed when he or she is drunk.  It is said that underlying personality traits are drastically exaggerated when the individual becomes inebriated.  A typically happy individual will become friendly, empathetic, and talkative while intoxicated while a moody or aggressive individual will become violent, agitated, or upset when drinking.  Clearly alcohol is not totally responsible for these behaviors.  So when students function certain ways socially, academically, and morally, alcohol can play an important role in the development in these areas.  It is not because of alcohol entirely that these changes may occur, a lot of it has to do with the individual’s mind, experiences, and lifestyle.

    As far as similar studies have been executed, I too plan on collecting various testimonies in order to gain a fair understanding of college drinking.  I intend to gather surveys from at least ten students along with the addition of possibly one or two teachers/ faculty members, and also parents of the students.  Within these interviews, I plan to determine the frequency of drinking along with typical behaviors expressed when consuming alcohol.  I also wish to get a decent understanding of the students’ backgrounds and personality based on a series of simple questions that will help me better understand what is taking place on a psychological level.  Based on observation,  I want to see if there is any correlation between drinking behaviors and personality traits.  Like in many of the studies previously taken, I am also interested in finding out the academic history of the participants.  Along with my own studies in the field, I will also be using multiple sources to back up my findings.  With a series of case studies, psychological analyses, surveys, and national statistics, I hope to create a good foundation to base my hypothesis off of.  The research I plan on using will help me determine the effects of alcohol on the student population and will allow me to see any correlation between academics and drinking.  I also wish to see if privatization has anything to do with the drinking “crisis” that is apparently consuming our education system.  Many recent studies point to an emerging relationship between private schools and binge drinking.  Larger schools are said to have a larger drinking problem but at the same time have effective drinking prevention due to state-funded programs.  On the other hand, schools that do not have funded programs report that their efforts are not as successful in decreasing the drinking problem on campus.  
    Through my findings I hope to conclude that there is a definite relationship between student life and excessive drinking. Many people believe that alcohol is always to blame and that it deteriorates a person’s character. I want to either prove that alcohol is truly the culprit or if the real problem lies within the individual.

Monday, March 19, 2012

5 sources

Baer, John S. "Student Factors: Understanding Individual Variation in College Drinking." Collegedrinkingprevention.gov. 23 Sept. 2005. Web. 5 May 2012. <www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/supportingresearch/journal/baer.aipx>.
Dowdall, George W. College Drinking: Reframing a Social Problem. Westport, CT: Greenwood Group, 2009. Print.
Jayson, Sharon. "College Drinking Is Liberating, and a Good Excuse." Usatoday.com. Gannett Co. Inc., 22 Aug. 2011. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2011/08/College-drinking-is-liberating-and-a-good-excuse/50080738/1>.
Johnston, LD. "Statistical Snapshot of College Drinking." Nih.gov. National Institute of Health, 2008. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/AboutNIAAA/NIAAASponsoredPrograms/StatisticalSnapshotCollegeDrinking.htm>.
Weitzman, ER. "Social Developmental Overview of Heavy Episodic or Binge Drinking Among U.S. College Students." Hsph.harvard.edu. Harvard School of Public Health, 2004. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/Documents/socdevel-article/>. 


-does alcohol play a major role in the life of college students?  Does it form behaviors?
-does underage drinking among college students change they outcome of student life?
-Why is college drinking so popular, frequent, and tolerated?
-How is academic and social life altered by alcohol among college students?  
_Is alcohol and excuse or is it a cause of problems among college students?

RIOT Review

While "helping" the students in the Rutgers RIOT,  I felt a little more comfortable in my own research process.  Reviewing how to narrow down a research topic definitely helped me to better form my own thesis and limit a broad topic down  to a specific field of study.  Also "teaching" the students how to limit their keywords refreshed my mind on how to properly use databases.  Without using Rutgers RIOT I would have still felt confident in my own research but it was good to refresh my memory.  I will definitely benefit from using these library resources

Privatization and College Drinking

While writing a paper on privatization in higher education I noticed there is clearly a relationship between privatization and drinking underage.  While it might not be apparent, there definitely is some connection between the two.  As I was learning about privatization, I noticed how schools are focusing more on the business aspects of college rather than the educational ones. That being said, schools are paying more attention to their profits and economic status instead of ensuring a high graduating rate and being able to provide a solid curriculum for the students.  If more and more schools are focusing on monetary value then they care more about money than they do the individual. 

It is said those who choose to drink underage during college have a higher drop out rate, are more prone to failing classes,  turn in assignments late, and generally do poorly in school.  But if the schools themselves care mostly about money, then when these students fail the schools don't really do much to help.  They get paid regardless of a student's success.  An A or an F still costs the same, and even when students fail, they generally have to retake the course or add another year onto their college career.  So in turn the university is making money and turns the other shoulder at underage drinking.  Yes, schools do have programs that try to teach awareness and prevention but in the long run, they don't really care what students choose to do.  If you are paying for school, you can do whatever you want.  They are not responsible for your actions. 

Im not saying privatization causes student drinking because privatization is very recent.  Underage drinking has been around much longer.  However, I believe privatization does nothing to help this crisis.  In my mind, it makes schools less interested in an individual's problems and causes them to focus more on income for the institution