Drinking Behaviors and Underage Drinking Evasion Tactics
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This research examines the tactics used by college students to evade detection while drinking underage in various contexts near a large university in the southwestern United States. This research also looks at the drinking behaviors of college students who are of legal drinking age in these settings. The researcher conducted this research as a participant observer in six different drinking contexts: party buses, tailgate parties, pre-game parties, fraternity parties, university bars, and the entertainment district of a near-by city. Most prior research on the topic relies on student self-report surveys. The observations in the current research seek to validate those findings more directly. The routine activity approach offers a theoretical background, since the drinking environments provide no supervision, that is, no guardians to protect victims and no handlers to inhibit delinquent acts.
In all six contexts, guardianship was weak, and drinking was heavy. Yet each context has special features that influence the presence or absence of controls and the quantity of alcohol consumed. Alcohol researchers have noted the importance of "pre-gaming" contexts in a drinking sequence that can produce extreme intoxication and serious negative outcomes. This thesis pays special attention to party buses, which on some university campuses in the United States provide an extra drinking stage and can greatly enhance alcohol problems.
Significant details about how binge drinking occurs in these contexts and how problem behaviors unfold are presented. The central research purpose is to verify through direct observation the behaviors that have been self-reported in previous research and related in previous research articles in the alcohol literature on student binge drinking (Hingson et al., 2005).