Did you know that, college attending students are now the most affected people when it comes to heavy drinking? This habit has now reached staggering levels to the point that, modern research on alcoholism is now focused on them. Previous studies have not satisfactorily concluded the reasons for this heavy drinking. Thus, this triggered another research which was aimed at proving that, there could be some aspects in the college environment that could be facilitating this heavy drinking.
The findings of this research could be very crucial in our efforts in curbing the habit. The research was aimed at examining how college attendance is associated with alcohol use in a population made up of young adult females attending colleges while using three research designs. This essay seeks to find out whether the conclusion of the research is reasonable and convincing. Researchers’ reasons for the study
Statistics show that there is a high rate of heavy drinking among college attending students. A report that was released in the year 2002 showed that an estimate of 1,400 deaths, 500,000 injuries and 600,000 assaults, not forgetting sexual assault that amounted to 70,000 among students, could be attributed to alcohol drinking. This led to raised concerns over what really leads to such occurrences, thus motivating the researchers to know more on the same.
Some said that one of the reasons is the phase the young people are in which involves much drinking. Although some evidences show that college attending students engage in heavy drinking, there is no convincing evidence that this group drinks more than their counterparts who do not attend college. Very few researchers have ventured into this area of study since it is very difficult to use samples of students as well as those ones who are not (Slutske et al, 2004).
In 1994, another research was conducted which showed that college students drink more than their peers not in college; the study had some limitations since it did not bring out the difference between the participants from both sides in relation to their likelihood of drinking despite age, sex, living conditions and race control. Other three studies were carried out but in all of them, the findings were not satisfactory in answering the question of whether college attending students engage in heavy alcohol drinking more than their counterparts.
Moreover, there is no data available comparing the rates of alcohol use disorders between the two groups. Other studies have been carried out but due to the methodologies they used, they were not successful to prove that college attending students have higher rates of alcohol use disorders than their peers who do not attend college (Slutske et al, 2004). Brief description of the methodology This type of study is the correlation one but has involved the survey method in the effort to find out whether the status of being in college is associated with heavy drinking and the disorder of alcohol use.
The population used was made up of young female adults who were selected using birth records. Three research strategies were used to enable the researchers to study how college attendance is associated with alcohol use. At first, multivariate analysis was carried out to determine where demographic factors and lifestyle could explain the association. Later, longitudinal analysis was done to determine whether the association could be explained by the fact that college students used to engage in heavy drinking more than their peers, who do not attend college prior to their admission to college.
The third strategy involved carrying out a cotwin-control analysis to determine whether family background and genetic factors could be behind this heavy drinking (Slutske et al, 2004). The researchers interviewed the parents of the twins through the phone during the first wave of the research and phone interviews of self reports by the twins in the first to the third wave of the study. All these provided the data that was needed for the research (Slutske et al, 2004). Summary of the findings
The research found out that, women who were between the ages of 19-21 and attending college, involved in heavy drinking more frequently than their counterparts not attending college. It was also discovered that, the college attending women drunk alcohol of about the same quantity as non attending college women but the patterns of drinking of the former, were influenced by the many episodes that were characterized by heavy drinking. This shows that, those women who attended colleges took more quantity of alcohol than their peers who did not attend college.
From cross-sectional analysis, it was discovered that women who attended college were more likely than their counterparts to be whites, from a family background that is socially and economically well up, not likely to stay with their parents, married or cohabiting and to be full time employed. All these characteristics plus college attendance status with the exception of full time employment were associated with heavy alcohol drinking. Another finding showed that the amount of alcohol consumed could not be associated with college attendance.
After controlling such factors as demographic characteristics and family background, it was found that, those women who lived with their parents, partners or spouses, engaged in less alcohol consumption compared to those who were not. This difference did not emerge with the ones cohabiting. Despite this, college attendance status remained to be the strongest predictor of involvement in alcohol among women attending college. This emerged after controlling such factors as family background and living arrangements.
Longitudinal analysis showed that there was no difference between the two groups of women, college attending and non-college attending, in the drinking frequency in the years prior to college life but later the ones attended college got involved in heavy drinking after joining college more than their counterparts. This means that, the two groups did not differ in the frequency of drinking alcohol prior to college years but since, those women attending college engaged in heavy drinking after attending college, it shows that the college attending status influenced their pattern of drinking and this is why the frequency of drinking changed.
Since the college non attending women did not show any changes in regards to their drinking pattern prior and after college years and while their counterparts did, it drove the researchers to conclude that college attendance status is associated with alcohol drinking. When it comes to analysis of discordant twin pair, there was no much difference between the college attending and the non attending one. The findings support the hypothesis that there are some environmental factors in college that could influence heavy drinking among the students since other factors which could have influenced the findings were controlled.
Researchers’ conclusions The researchers concluded that, demographic life style characteristics could account for the association between college attendance and heavy drinking of alcohol but the college attendance status could account for the frequency of heavy drinking among the students. Critical analysis The researchers have done a good job in giving the background of the study. They have managed to highlight the main problems that have been caused by alcohol drinking among students, a situation which has raised concern.
They have also mentioned other previous studies that have been carried out on the same issue, and also detailing their strengths and weaknesses thus giving them a good foundation for their study. They have also stated their goals clearly by explaining how other previous studies failed to give convincing evidences on the same area of, a fact that could be attributed to their methodologies. Thus this study was aimed at using different methodologies that would be effective and reliable. To some extent, the reasons for doing the research were viable but another goal could have been added.
For example, to find out the environmental risk factors which facilitate the drinking among the college students. This would be crucial in the efforts to curb the habit since they form the root cause of the problem and thus giving the foundation for solution. It is not enough to associate the college environment with alcohol drinking without mentioning what could be in the environment that leads to the problem. The sample size is reasonably large and thus appropriate for the methodology used. Survey is usually appropriate to large samples and population for it to be reliable.
This is why it is not possible to carry out the research in the experimental way since it is not effective when it comes to large populations and samples. However, the sample is no a representative of the general population. This is because the researchers first use twins only, which is a major limitation of this research. The general population is also made up of singletons and there are characteristics of twins which cannot be found to singletons and thus, to generalize such findings to the general population is not logical.
Another limitation of the research is that, women were the ones who were used for the study when it is well known that the general population is made up of both genders and thus this research cannot be applied to both genders. It may be appropriate if the hypothesis would have read something like; “Some aspects of college experience may be important environmental risk factors for heavy pattern of drinking among young female adults. ” There were no potential biases in the method used to select the participants since they were selected systematically.
Moreover, the researchers have done a good job by defining the samples used by stating their characteristics clearly. For example, the samples were made of pairs of female twins, some attending college and others not. The researchers also did a reasonable job in measuring the variable of alcohol involvement by measuring the frequency and the maximum quantity of alcohol consumed in a single day. They have also been successful in demonstrating that the measurements are reliable since they used them for not less than 12 months.
The measures used were also sensitive to the drinking patterns of the participants thus bringing out the differences clearly (Slutske et al, 2004). Steps were also taken to control other extraneous variables that might have influenced the results, and that is why they had to use different research strategies such as multivariate analysis and longitudinal analysis among others, that would control some factors like background, life style among others which would influence the findings (Slutske et al, 2004). The researchers did quality work in describing the methods used.
For example, they explained which samples were used in cross-sectional wave and what tests were administered to the samples. They went further to give the method of collecting data used in each wave and thus, it makes it possible for the methods to be adopted in another research. Moreover, the results are presented clearly using tables and graphs which complement the figures used indicating the mean, median among other measurements in statistics. The authors also managed to use statistical tests in the research for example, linear or logistic regression and hierarchical linear model.
In conclusion, the author’s conclusions seem reasonable according to the data they provided. This is because, they had controlled other factors such as the background and thus it is somehow logical to conclude that college attendance status is associated with heavy drinking. However, the conclusion is not convincing enough. This is because the research did not take into consideration other factors that characterize student lives for example, the socialization part of it. Moreover, the research reflects some theoretical biases.
For example, if a person holds on to the theory that lifestyle has something to do with heavy drinking, he will conclude that college lifestyle is associated with heavy drinking and not the environment or the status. This would also account for the difference between the non attending and attending college women. References Slutske, W. et al. (2004). Do college students drink more than their Non-college-attending peers? Evidence from a population-Based longitudinal female twin study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113 (4), 530-540