In consideration of the location where the study was conducted (University of New Hampshire), it seemed appropriate to pursue a topic that would potentially correlate with alcohol consumption. Past studies have attempted to address the issue of alcohol consumption and its affects effects on academic achievement, yet none have constricted the independent variable to a specific age rage. Returning back to data gathered from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, information was derived that suggested about seventy percent of minors have had at least one alcoholic beverage by the age of eighteen. In accordance with this finding, it was also recorded that although minors drink less often than adults, they do however tend to binge drink more often during an average drinking episode (NIAAA 2012).
The objective of the present study is to better grasp an understanding of underage alcohol consumption and academic achievement. With the focus of the age group being confined to individuals less than twenty one years of age, new findings will be generated. The reduction of underage alcohol consumption is an extremely prevalent topic that many policy implementers and law enforcement agencies are faced with. Hopefully results from this study can establish a causal relationship that will aid professionals in dealing with this dilemma not only at the University of New Hampshire, but at universities across the nation.
A plethora of studies have been conducted to observe the many negative effects that come from alcohol consumption. For those that are unaware, alcohol is a powerful depressant that ultimately slows down your thinking and time of reaction (CTC 2013). Also, alcohol consumption can act as a precursor to things such as brain damage, heart disease, liver damage, ulcers and various types of cancer (CTC 2013). Many individuals have been presented with similar facts, but they continue to drink alcohol. At the college level, many of the individuals that are consuming alcohol are under the legal age.
Policy makers and law enforcement have been faced with this dilemma for an ongoing period of time. In attempts to control for alcohol consumption, many studies have been conducted to pinpoint the main causes. In a study conducted by Labrie et al. (2010), family history of alcohol abuse and its effects on college students alcohol abuse were researched. Findings suggest that family history has a correlation with college students personal use making them more prone to abuse (mostly males) (Labrie et al. 2010).
With this finding however, minimal policy implications are suggested except for parental monitoring of socialization. In a study conducted by Rasul et al. (2011), the current drinking age is tested. Researchers were curious if a deduction in the current drinking age would have a successful attempt in diminishing heavy episodic drinking periods amongst college students. Findings imply that only in the rare case of high alcohol availability, and low levels of law enforcement, would the reduction of the drinking age have a small positive effect.
With the full understanding of the prevalence of alcohol consumption in college in general, the question is posed of the effect that it has on academic performance. There is a brief existence of literature that focuses directly on this topic. In a study conducted by Singleton (2007), he examines the relationship between alcohol consumption and academic performance while controlling for key background factors. When SAT scores and class ranks were controlled, a significant relationship for alcohol consumption and academic performance was observed (Singleton 2007). In a similar study conducted by Singleton and Wolfson (2009), they attempted to observe relationships between alcohol intake, sleep and academic performance. Main findings suggest that the most significant predictor of academic performance was sleep schedule. However, the association that high alcohol intake would result in poor sleep schedule ultimately effecting your academic achievement was established (Singleton and Wolfson 2009).
Although past studies have observed alcohol consumption and its effects on academic achievement, none of them control for age. In the present study, the collegiate population that illegally consumes alcohol is examined. Findings will hopefully suggest that illegal alcohol consumption has a negative effect on academic achievement. If so, I will provide some policy implications that will help address and potentially minimize underage alcohol consumption.
* Null Hypothesis: underage alcohol consumption has no affect effect on individual academic achievement. * Alternative Hypothesis: underage alcohol consumption will have a negative effect on academic achievement.
To gather the data necessary to study alcohol consumption and its effects on academic achievement, two survey questions were contributed to a general survey composed by the spring 2013 methods of social research class at the University of New Hampshire. Our study was conducted in various classrooms at the University of New Hampshire using the method of convenience sampling. This non-probability sampling method will produce un-representative results. However, considering our limits of time and money, this sampling procedure was deemed the most rational. Professor Rebecca Glauber contacted five sociology professors teaching large discovery courses during the spring semester.
These teachers agreed to let students in the methods of social research course field a survey to their students. No compensation was received by the participants. In the middle of April, three to four students in the methods of social research course attended the classes of these professors. During that time, the students stood in front of the class room and read a verbal recruitment statement. Upon completion of the statement, students handed out the surveys to all participants in the classroom. If the students agree to participate, they will anonymously fill out the survey. If at any time an individual felt uncomfortable and wished to remove their consent, that survey was destroyed. After completion, students placed their surveys in a box at the front of the room.
Minimal risk is present in our study. On the survey, questions involving illegal substance use were present. This could potentially be considered a criminal liability, but since the survey was completed anonymously that factor is ruled out and the participants were protected. Also, questions involving states of mental health were present which could potentially have negative psychological effects on participants. There is no direct benefit to the participants of the study. However, results of this survey helped individuals in the methods of social research class obtain useful information that helped them draw conclusions that otherwise would not have been possible. In this particular study, no physical harm, and minimal psychological harm to the participants was present. In addition, the assurance of anonymity will help establish the goal of the benefits outweighing the risks.
The variables used for this particular study were alcohol consumption and academic achievement. The independent variable, alcohol consumption, was (conceptually) theoretically defined by measuring the amount of alcoholic beverages that are consumed in an average drinking episode. The question used to address this variable was, During an average drinking episode, about how many alcoholic drinks do you consume? There were five mutually exclusive and exhaustive answers for participants to select from. (this sounds like it could be plagiarism so maybe change that sentence.) The dependent variable, academic achievement, was conceptually defined by measuring students GPAs. The question used to address this variable was, What is your overall grade point average (GPA)? Once again, there were five mutually exclusive and exhaustive answers for participants to select from.