Applying Behavioral Theory to an Innovative School-Based Program for Preventing Underage Drinking and Impaired Driving

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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...
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