Research Paper on the Motivations of Alcohol Consumption on College Campuses

Topics: Alcohol abuse, Alcoholism, Drinking culture Pages: 13 (4607 words) Published: June 19, 2013
Matthew Parker
Sociology 310
Research Paper
David Mickey-Pabello

College students’ alcohol consumption has been an area of concern for universities for quite some time now. The purpose of my research is to examine the different motivations behind alcohol consumption among undergraduate students at the University of Michigan in comparison to Division 1 athletes also enrolled at Michigan. I seek to find if the stresses of balancing academics and athletics, pressure to perform, and adapting to social change effect the rate in which Division I college athletes consume alcohol compared to their non-athlete peers? Ultimately, I hypothesize from experience there to be a significant difference in the proportion of athletes who consume alcohol in comparison to both the average college student and students affiliated in Greek life. Furthermore, I believe this difference in proportion may be majorly attributed to the high commitment that comes with being a student-athlete. Research on alcohol use among athletes and non-athletes is vital in order to understand why the abuse of alcohol is on the rise around college campuses all over the nation.

These two concepts are related because there may be a significant difference between athlete’s alcohol consumption and their non-athlete peers that is imperative to analyze. I want to know if the differences stem from personal motivations or if environments, for example Greek Life, play the predominant role among college students alcohol consumption. Furthermore, within the population of college students, researchers have identified the subpopulation of college athletes as being at an increased risk for heavier alcohol consumption, binge drinking, and drinking-related negative consequences (Anderson, Albrecht, McKeag, Hough, & McGrew). Based on these findings, I set out to explore what the determining factors are that could possibly make college athletes more at risk for alcohol consumption and binge drinking than their non-athlete peers.

Literature Review:
After analyzing several research articles I found many relevant studies that enhanced my knowledge of alcohol consumption among college students, which really benefitted my research. The first research I found pertaining to my topic was an article done by three doctors from Southern Illinois University. The journal is title, “College Factors that Influence Drinking” and it seeks to examine the aspects of collegiate environments that influence drinking, rather than student characteristics. The research method and results:

“Method: A literature review of articles primarily published within the last 10 years, along with some earlier "landmark" studies of collegiate drinking in the United States, was conducted to determine institutional factors that influence the consumption of alcohol. Results: Several factors have been shown to relate to drinking: (1) organizational property variables of campuses, including affiliations (historically black institutions, women's institutions), presence of a Greek system, athletics and 2- or 4-year designation; (2) physical and behavioral property variables of campuses, including type of residence, institution size, location and quantity of heavy episodic drinking; and (3) campus community property variables, including pricing and availability and outlet density.”

The overall message behind this research article concluded that there exists undeniable evidence that college students all over the nation drink often and many who drink to harmful levels. Furthermore, the study shows there is consistent information regarding the negative consequences of drinking and that there are also differences relating to housing, athletics, and Greek organization affiliation.

“Alcohol-Related Injury Among Greek-Letter College Students”, (O’Brian, 2013) The from the Journal of Health Psychology investigated...

References: Goodman, Kathleen. 2006. “Alcohol and College Outcomes”. Iowa City, IA: Center for
Research on Undergraduate Education.
Jones, Jacob. 2011. “The Risk Factors of Alcohol Abuse Among College Athletes”. Terre Haute, IN: Department of Communication Disorders and Counseling, School, and E Educational Psychology Indiana State University
O’Brien, C. Mary. 2013. “Alcohol Related Injury Among Greek Letter College Students”. Wake q Forest School of Medicine
Pascarella, T. Ernest. 2011. “College Student Binge Drinking and Academic Achievement”. Iowa Iowa City, IA: Center for Research on Undergraduate Education.
Presley, Cheryl, Ph.D., Meilman, W. Philip, Ph.D., Leichliter, S. Jami, Ph.D. 2003. “College Factors Factors that Influence Drinking”. Carbondale, Illinois: Student Health Programs, SoutherSouthern Illinois University
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