yles, andFamily Alcoholism on Alcohol ConsumptionThe Effects of Stress, Alcohol Outcome Expectancies, Gender, Coping Styles, andFamily Alcoholism on Alcohol ConsumptionResearch Proposal byJosh Robbins100-928-594November 26, 1996Economics 143AbstractOne large component of American popular culture today is alcohol.
Acommon stereotype for the effects of alcohol is that as a drug it acts as astress antagonist. This theory was introduced by Conger (1956) as the TensionReduction Hypothesis (TRW). It states that alcohol’s sedative action on thecentral nervous system serves to reduce tension, and because tension reductionis reinforcing, people drink to escape it (Marlatt ; Rehsenow, 1980). Why do wedrink, when do we drink, and how much do we drink? This research will determinethe correlation between total weekly consumption of alcohol and perceived stress,alcohol outcome expectancies, gender, coping styles, and family history ofalcoholism among undergraduate students. Do people drink more or less whenstressed? Do alcohol outcome expectancies lead to higher or lower consumption?Is a history of family alcoholism positively or negatively correlated topersonal consumption? Do the tested variables play mediating or moderatingroles in stress-related drinking? This research will determine the answers tothese questions, and determine the strength of the correlations, if any.IntroductionThe main question that this statistical model will answer is as follows:Is there any correlation between drinking and gender, alcohol expectancies,family alcoholism, stress, and coping styles?GenderIt has been demonstrated that significant differences exist between thedrinking patterns of men and women (Hilton, 1988). In a survey of US drinkinghabits conducted in 1988 by the US National Center for Health Statistics, Dawsonand Archer (1992) showed that there are three areas illustrating genderdifferences.
The first is the actual number of male and female drinkers. Thestudy showed that 64% of men versus 41% of women were current drinkers. Second,men were more likely to consume alcohol on a daily basis (17.5 grams of ethanolper day versus 8.9 grams for women). Third, men were more likely to beclassified as heavy drinkers. In fact, when the classification measure of a”heavy drinker” was changed from five drinks or more per day to nine drinks ormore per day the ration of male to female heavy drinkers increased by a factorof 3.StressAre the theories mentioned above about stress-induced drinking accurate?There have been studies which disprove the Tension Reduction Hypothesis.
Forinstance, in a study by Conway, Vickers, Ward, and Rahe in 1981 it was foundthat “the consumption of alcohol among Navy officers during periods of high jobdemands was actually lower than the consumption during low-demand periods.”Additionally, some drinkers have been known to consider alcohol as a tensiongenerator rather than a tension reducer.Alcohol ExpectanciesThe expectations of what effects alcohol consumption may have play animportant role in drinking habits. These expectancies first develop inchildhood as indirect learning experiences (media, family modeling, peerinfluence) and, as a result of increased direct experiences with thepharmacological effects of alcohol, become more refined (Christiansen, Goldman,; Inn, 1982).
Do the expectancies that people hold about alcohol decentlypredict consumption? Some people believe that alcohol consumption will increasesexual and aggressive behavior, or otherwise enhance social experiences. Manypeople subscribe to the view that alcohol acts as “liquid courage”.DataThe dependent variable for this research will be Weekly AlcoholConsumption (WEEK), measured by the total number of drinks consumed in 1 week.A standard drink is defined as a 12-ounce bottle/can of beer, 1.5 ounce shot ofliquor, or a 5 ounce glass of wine. The predictor variables would include thedummy variable GENDER, where D1=1 for a male, STRESS, alcoholic expectancies(EXPECT), family alcoholism (FAMILY), and difference coping styles (COPE).
The complete list of possible measurable variables are: PerceivedStress, Family History of Alcoholism, Problem-Focused Coping, Emotion-FocusedCoping, Less Useful Coping, and Drinking to Cope. For alcohol expectancyoutcomes, the following variables would be useful: Sociability, TensionReduction, Liquid Courage, Sexuality, Cognitive ; Behavioral Impairment, Risk ;Aggression, and Self Perception. The data for this research project will becollected through surveys and questionnaires given to undergraduate students atone university, but not limited to one department. An attempt should be made tosplit the test group approximately equal in terms of sex. Since race/ethnicityand age are not being tested, they are irrelevant for this study. Compensationmay be necessary (possibly a beer), as college students’ time is quite valuable,and the questionnaire may take approximately 30 minutes. There are a number oftests which currently exist which may be used to evaluate the subjects.1.
Adapted Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (Adapted SMAST)This is a 13 item self-report questionnaire developed by Sher andDescutner in 1986 which is designed to measure family history of alcoholism.This is a yes/no type of test, and is specifically determines the extent of anindividual’s parents’ alcohol abuse.2. Comprehensive Effects of Alcohol (CEOA)The CEOA (Fromme, Stroot & Kaplan, 1993) has 38 questions, and isdesigned to measure alcohol outcome expectancies. There are seven expectancyscales, four positive (sociability, tension-reduction, liquid-courage, andsexuality) and three negative (cognitive-behavioral impairment, risk andaggression, and self perception). The answers are based on a five point scalewith 1 = disagree and 5 = agree.
3. Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)The PSS (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) is a 14 item self-reportdesigned to assess the degress to which situations in one’s life are appraisedas stressful. There are 7 positive and 7 negative questions.4.
COPEThe COPE (Carver et al., 1989) has 53 questions and is designed toassess individual coping dispositions. This test is quite complicated, as it ismade up of 14 scales which are categorized into 3 coping styles: Problem-FocusedCoping, Emotion-Focused Coping, and Less than Useful Coping (Denial, BehavioralDisengagement, and Mental Disengagement). The main result we will be looking atis a section called “Drinking to Cope”. This will help us find out whetherpeople drink to cope and if so, in what situations.SpecificationThe regression equation for this research will be as follows: WEEKi = b0+ b1(GENDER)i + b2(STRESS)i + b3(EXPECT)i + b4(FAMILY)i + b5(COPE)iThe expected signs of the coefficients are as follows:b1: This is a dummy variable, with only 2 possible values, 0=female and1=male;b2: Positive. Increased stress leads to increased drinking;b3: Both.
It will probably be positive with expectancy variables likeTension Reduction, liquid-Courage and Sexuality, while negative with BehavioralImpairment, Risk ; Aggression, and Self Perception;b4: Positive. One would expect an alcoholic family would increase thelikelihood of an alcoholic child;b5: Positive. If we restrict this variable to Drinking To Cope, itshould be positive.I would plan to run a regression using one predictor variable at a time,and then adding an additional variable until many possibilities have beenregressed, determining the correlation between the different predictors. Thiswill determine as well which predictors account for what percentage of thevariability.Anticipated BenefitsAfter determination of the correlation between weekly drinking and the 5predictor variable discussed herein, we will be able to focus on which variableshave more effect, or higher correlation.
If the highest correlation is found inthe FAMILY variable, we will know to spend more time and money on programs whichpromote “Family Values”. If high correlation is found with the STRESS variable,we can direct our energies to making college less stressful. This researchshould be used as a signal for what needs to be done in the future.ReferencesCarver, C. S., Scheier, M. F.
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