Drunk Driving Term Paper

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Drunk Driving: A Review of Four Journal Articles

Introduction great deal of literature has been written on drunk driving. Some of it involves underage drinking and antisocial behaviors, some involves the court system and the penalties for drunk driving, and some of it simply attempts to address the reasons and causes behind why so many people seem to think that driving drunk is acceptable behavior. In the course of the next ten pages, four separate journal articles will be examined. While these articles are not all on the same aspects of drunk driving, they all deal with the subject in various ways, from juvenile delinquency to penalties from the courts.

For each article an explanation of why the study was conducted and the reasons behind it will be made, as well as an explanation of what and how the results were measured. The various hypotheses that the researchers addressed will be mentioned as well as the dependent and independent variables. Any specific intervening variables that may have caused difficulty with the study will also be addressed. The conclusions of these four articles will be summarized, and personal opinions and perspectives on the value of the research and the methods used will be interjected at that time.

The goal of this paper is to examine the worthiness of studies that have been done on drunk driving, and to determine where weaknesses lie so that further studies can be conducted that may fill in the gaps that present research has left. In order to understand what research is still needed, it is important that past research be brought to light. In this way, the potential flaws in past research can be noted so that those who intend to perform these same types of studies in the future will not consistently make the mistakes that have been made in past studies. This will keep research into drunk driving concerns moving forward.

Article 1: Adolescents and Advertising

This article deals with the advertising for beer and cigarettes and how it influences adolescent behavior. This study was conducted in order to determine whether product warnings about dangerous substances such as alcohol and tobacco affect the rates at which adolescents use these products. It correlates with the drunk driving issue because many adolescents who heed product warnings will be less likely to drink and then get behind the wheel of a car, while adolescents who see product warnings as unimportant will be more likely to drink and then drive, largely because they assume that accidents only happen to others (Krugman, et.al, 1998).

In order to determine just how important adolescents see product letting us on alcohol and tobacco, researchers studied their feelings and opinions about these things as well as their behavior. For this particular study, researchers used eye tracking methods to measure how adolescents looked at print advertisements. By doing this, researchers were attempting to measure whether there was a correlation between the length of time that an adolescent looked at a print ad and the ability to remember the warning message that was presented there (Krugman, et.al, 1998).

The theory was that adolescents who spent a longer period of time studying the advertisements and warning messages would be less likely to use the products that they were warned about, so researchers wanted to see whether ads for tobacco and alcohol were studied for a longer period of time than ads for soft drinks and suntan lotion, for example (Krugman, et.al, 1998).

The variables in the study included the gender of the participants, age and grade level of the participants, and the fact that the advertisements were shown in a particular order. Had the ads been shown in a different order, different results may have ensued. Despite the variables, the researchers found no specific differences related to gender or age in their study. What they did discover, however, was that adolescents in general have a great interest in smoking and drinking, and that this often leads to behavior is such as drinking and driving that cause devastation among the younger population. Drinking and driving kills many adolescents every year, and is one of the leading causes of accidents and death for teenagers (Krugman, et.al., 1998).

The researchers do not identify any variables that might have intervened with their study, but there is concern over the fact that the advertisements were shown in a particular order. In an effort to make sure that all of the test results were accurate, they showed the advertisements to each participant in the same order.

While it is not suggested that they should have chosen the order at random for each participant, because this would have created skewed results for the study, the thought remains that they might have tried the study several different times on different groups of participants, while changing the order that they provided the advertisements in. Perhaps this would have given some indication as to whether there was as strong a correlation between the length of time alcohol and tobacco ads were viewed and the length of time other ads were viewed as the researchers intimated.

The researchers' basic conclusion was that adolescents are extremely interested in behaviors that are dangerous. Smoking and drinking are behaviors commonly believed to be dangerous by society as a whole. The interest in drinking by those in the adolescent age group indicates that this behavior is likely to be occurring. Statistics show that adolescents who drink are likely to get behind the wheel of a car as well. Because of this the correlation between the interest in adolescent drinking and the number of adolescent who are killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents can be easily reached (Krugman, et.al., 1998).

This research is very valuable because it actually looks at whether young people are looking at the warnings and the print advertisements that are available on dangerous substances. It also gives indication into the fact that, while these adolescents are looking at the advertisements and the warnings, they are not really seeing them for what they truly mean. In other words, ad campaigns against drunk driving must be adjusted because adolescents are not heeding the warnings that are available now when looking at print advertisements that involve alcohol.

Article II: College Students and Alcohol Consumption

This study dealt with college students and other under age individuals, and how much alcohol they consumed. It was conducted in order to determine how attending college affects underage drinking and driving. Before the researchers began their explanation of their method of study, they pointed out that those who attend college tend to drink more than their peers of the same age. They also found that while underage college students cannot drink as often as those who are in college and legal drinking age, they tend to drink more heavily when they do consume alcohol (Weschler, et.al., 2002).

This creates problems for students who must drive, as they often drink and then drive either off-campus, to campus, or to their college friends' homes. Because of this, researchers were interested in discovering how much of a correlation there was between underage drinking and driving, as it related to college students.

The researchers used a self reporting method to get the information that they were looking for. In general, they were looking to see how many students reported themselves as underage, and then correlating that with what the students reported to the researchers about their alcohol consumption behavior, including whether or not they got behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Also examined were the rates of binge drinking, defined as having more than five alcoholic beverages, the reasons why students state that they drink alcohol, and whether getting drunk was a goal of drinking alcohol for them (Weschler, et.al., 2002).

After this information had been examined, researchers also asked students about any health or medical related problems that correlated with their drinking, such as if they had been in any kind of automobile accident or if they had driven or been arrested while they were drunk, or whether they had driven after they had drank alcohol even if they were not believed to be drunk. The data was then analyzed and weighted to find the most accurate reporting possible (Weschler, et.al., 2002).

The hypothesis, which was not actually spelled out by the researchers but can be intuited from the methods and outcomes that they were interested in, was that underage drinkers who go to college binge drink and consume alcohol at a higher rate than those who do not go to college. It was believed that these students also tends to drink and drive more than their peers, possibly because many students can get away with things that college that they could not get away with in their hometowns around family and friends that they have grown up with (Weschler, et.al., 2002).

Included in the study was the age of the respondents to the survey, as well as their gender, and whether they were full-time or part-time students in…[continue]

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