INDIANA UNIVERSITY, BLOOMINGTON

Ruth C. Engs & David J. Hanson. Boozing and Brawling on campus: a national study of violent problems associated with drinking over the past decade. Journal of Criminal Justice, 22 (2): 171-180, 1994
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BOOZING AND BRAWLING ON CAMPUS: A NATIONAL STUDY OF VIOLENT PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH DRINKING OVER THE PAST DECADE

Ruth C. Engs, Applied Health Science, Indiana University,

David J. Hanson, Sociology, SUNY, Potsdam, NY

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Abstract of article

    There has been an increase in alcohol-related violent crime in the United States since the early 1980s. Concomitantly there has been a decrease in per capita consumption of alcohol. Cultural Theory suggests that students will follow the trends of society in terms of behaviors such as alcohol consumption and violence related to drinking. Subcultural Theory, on the other hand, suggests that these behaviors will reflect subcultural rather than societal trends. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine possible changes in drinking patterns and violent behavior related to drinking from 1982 until 1991 with the same sample of universities from all contiguous states in the United States. A secondary purpose was to test the Cultural and Subcultural models of behavior.

    Based on a sample of over 4,000 students, at each of four time periods over the past decade, a significant (p<.001) decrease in the percentage of students reporting that they had consumed alcohol at least once during the preceding year was found. The percentage declined from 82.4 in 1982 to 78.8 in 1991. Likewise, there was a significant (p<.001) decrease in the mean amount of alcohol consumed (14.3 to 12.8 drinks per week between 1982 and 1991). With regard to self-reported violent/legal problems related to drinking, there were significant increases (p<.001) in the percentages of students who had "gotten into a fight" (11.6 to 17.2) and had had "trouble with the law" (4.4 to 7.6) between 1982 and 1991 because of drinking. Likewise, there were significant increases (p<.05) in the percentages who had engaged in vandalism (9.3 to 10.5) and had had "trouble with the school administration" (1.9 to 2.5) because of drinking. The results of this study support the Cultural Theory of behavior in that the students' drinking and violence related to drinking appear to have followed the trends of the United States as a whole over the past decade.

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