Strategies to Prevent Underage Drinking
Edwena Corley African American Future A Review and Analysis of the American Journal of Health Studies’ Article Applying Behavioral Theory to an Innovative School-Based Program For Preventing Underage Drinking and Impaired Driving Diane Everett September 24, 2012 The article yields to the dangerous reality that underage drinking is a problem.The article further notes that it is also met publicity that peaks and shifts throughout decades.
Currently all drunk drivers are being targeted on a national scale, but teen driving is not being addressed head on as it had been previously.One model and theory, the transtheoretical model and the social cognitive theory, were presented within the article in an effort to explain why underage drinking takes place and also why adolescents who have been drinking, regardless of whether or not they are intoxicated, believe that they are able to function and drive at the same rate and with the same control as when they are sober.
They also present solutions at interpersonal and community levels.
The interpersonal level of change seeks to alter peer influence and the community level promotes positive behaviors such as abstaining from alcohol and denounces negative behaviors such as drinking and driving. The latter is generally presented in the form of real life scenarios. Price et al. (2009) notes that alcohol is the premier drug of choice for adolescents, with the onset of underage drinking occurring, on average, around age 13.
In 2001, 13% percent of high school students reported operating a vehicle on one of more occasions after or while drinking alcohol, and 31% reported being a passenger to a peer who had been drinking. These statistics are startling but not as much as the following facts derived from that same year: 3,608 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were killed and an additional 337,000 were injured in car crashes. Approximately 25% of drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 who are killed in crashes were legally intoxicated.
Peer pressure, the liberal attitudes that parents possess toward underage drinking, and also the concentrated levels of alcohol advertising campaigns have been identified as roots causes of underage drinking. Some parents believe it is acceptable if their children and their friends drink as long as they are purchasing the alcohol for them, and are monitoring their use of the substance in home (Price et al. , 2009). The article mentions a program known as Shattered Dreams sought to weed out the issues or variables that influence underage drinking.
The data gathered from this program was used to bring about awareness and offer solutions. The transtheoretical model that the authors propose for the execution of combative solution to the issue of underage drinking and driving has five stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The precontemplation stage deals with the subject being in denial about their problematic behavior, while in the contemplation stage the subject realizes that a problem exists, however they have not yet begun to take steps toward correcting the issue(s) at hand.
The preparation stage acts a mile marker because it is suggestive of the subject actually making a conscious decision to change their problematic behavior by utilizing their newly acquire skills and continuing to learn new skills that are conducive to more effective and continuous change. The action stage speaks for itself, as the subject then begins to put into motion the new behaviors that will replace the negative behaviors. Maintenance, the final stage of the transtheoretical model, focuses on consistency (Price et al. 2009). Teenagers, more than any other group of people believe that they are invincible, which is why underage drinking and driving is an issue; it is also why sexually transmitted diseases spread rapidly throughout high schools, and why teenage pregnancy is continuing to spiral out of control. Teenagers are often in denial for multiple reasons; the primary reason being not wanting to feel vulnerable. The admittance of fault makes an individual feel as though they are inferior of someone or something.
Admitting that one’s underage drinking is an issue could also mean no longer bring viewed as cool or part of the in crowd, because peer pressure plays a huge role in teenage social interactions. To overcome denial still does not mean that one is ready to go forth in terms of discontinuing their drinking, or drinking and opting to find a designated driver. The ultimate goal of the teenager should be to abstain because they have yet to reach the age of maturity in their state where if they would then be lawful to purchase alcohol.
When an underage driver decides to abstain from alcohol altogether because they are aware that it is a crime, they must also realize that drinking and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is hazardous to themselves, and also anyone else with whom they share the road. When applying the transtheoretical model to underage drinking and driving, precontemplation occurs when the underage person realizes that they are endangering the lives of many, but they still drink due to both obvious and unforeseen reasons (i. e. peer pressure and/or undiagnosed depression).
If the adolescent suffers from depression that is unfounded to a healthcare professional, they may choose to participate in other problematic behaviors which cause them to be further engulfed in a lifestyle that will prove to be even more complicated to change. The contemplation stage may be reached when something monumental transpires, such as a close friend dying in a car accident because they too chose to drink and drive. This stage brings about a sense of urgency to change, be it brought on by fear or a true desire to change.
Whatever the matter, the individual will benefit if they are willing to take the steps to help themselves. When undergoing the preparation stage the at-risk adolescent may seek help from a parent by asking them to set up an appointment with a therapist, depending on the severity of the alcohol related behaviors. If the drinking has reached a very reckless stage then the adolescent may meet with their parent and a healthcare professional to discuss being admitted to an institution. The action stage would consist of the teen actually going to a session of therapy.
Furthermore, if the therapist proposes that the client also attend alcoholic anonymous (AA) meetings, they would be wise to attend as it compliments their treatment. If the teen is aware that they need to be in an alcohol treatment facility they would follow through with their plan to be admitted on their admit date. The most important part of the action stage is the maintenance stage because they go hand in hand. Attending only one therapy session and one AA meeting will not help or heal the issue. To be consistent with one’s treatment insures far more belief in oneself to abstain for newly introduced reasons.
The maintenance stage within an alcohol treatment facility is both simple and complex in nature. While in the facility the professionals house therein will see to it that mandatory sobriety is maintained, but the tricky part is remaining abstinent upon one’s release from the institution. The way that the social cognitive theory (SCT) fits into this model is simple. It climbs through all of the stages, rearranging the social aspects of it and calling for a sense of initiative in maintaining self-efficacy. According to Bandura (1986) and Price et al. 2009) social cognitive theory (SCT) assumes that people, their behavior, and their environments interact continuously and that specific mediators facilitate behavioral change. Thus if peer pressure is the root of underage drinking, then modifying of social spheres is necessary, but due to the self-efficacy aspect, it is the prerogative of the subject or adolescent to denounce troublesome friendships and establish new healthy ones. It is in no way possible to undergo treatment and continue to hang out with peers who drink and drive.
Even if the new-found abstinent teen continues to act as a passenger to the intoxicated party, they may lose their lives in a fatal accident as a result. The specific mediators that are to encourage the behavioral evolution of the subject would be the aforementioned healthcare professions, parents, or a combination of both. While drinking and driving will more than likely continue to be a problem the ages, the best way to tackle it is to bring about a sense of enlightenment and urgency among teens.
This has been done through preliminary findings that are indicative of improved student awareness of the risks and consequences of underage drinking and driving and suggested that students’ expectations about alcohol use were less positive after participation in the program (Price et al. , 2009). Furthermore, other programs, in certain states and school districts across the nation vehicles that have been involved in drunk driving accidents have been approved for placement outside of high school, on the lawn or next to the signage While some students view it as a scare tactic, it is proven to work for others.
The students who are unfazed by it, perceive it as a prop, but the horror is that those same individuals who do not accept the change that is imperative to protect their family, friends and ultimately themselves will more than likely end up dying in one of those cars; thereafter their vehicle or the vehicle of their victim being placed outside someone else’s school. The overall goal of this article was to urge helping professionals to bring to light the issue of underage drinking and driving but approach it as hinting that the student involved have an issue and leaving them to evolve on their own.
This is because teenagers generally warm up to positive behavior faster and are more apt to accept participate in said behaviors, if they believe it was their idea, versus it being forced upon them.
Bibliography Price, M. A. , Salazar, C. I. , Villarreal, C. L. , Guerra, C. M. , Villarreal, R. , ;amp; Stewart, R. M. (2009). Applying Behavioral Theory To an Innovative School-Based Program For Preventing Underage Drinking and Impaired. American Journal of Health Studies, 24(1), 223-231. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.