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Curtin University

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Articles of Interest

PEER PRESSURE AND ALCOHOL ABUSE

WHY YOUNG PEOPLE DRINK

Young adolescents tend to be levitating with the peers around them. They are prone to influences in their daily activities and peer’s acknowledgment is very much vital in any decision making and problem solving. Feelings of acceptance and deep sense for approval occur in groups and cliques. Like other experimental social behavior, the consumption of alcohol may represent an unwritten testament of membership whereby one has to drink if one wants to stay or be accepted. 

WHAT STUDIES REVEAL

Studies regularly show that young people are drinking alcohol earlier and heavier than ever before and university students have a tendency to drink excessively. The situation is made worse when students are to pressured to think a certain way, or act a certain way. Students relating to beliefs on what is “normal” behavior in a student community directly influences students’ likelihood to consume alcohol. Together with other stress related issues, students are vulnerable and likely to engage in drinking behaviour.

CONSEQUENCES

As a result, students who bow to the pressure of drinking alcohol subsequently face many down falls. Alcohol abuse is a source for poor academic performance with students missing classes, failing tests and experience disciplinary problems. Together with the effects of peer pressure, students who are not involved in alcohol abuse will also experience the ‘secondary effects’ of drinking such as study and sleep deprivation, unwanted sexual advances, physical assault, vandalism, and many more negative outcomes resulting from their peer’s drinking habit.
Students who do not abstain but choose to go along the pressure to abuse alcohol, on the whole face more negative consequences in the future. A student will experience mental effects such as anxiety, hyperactivity and further interpersonal stagnation. In addition psychiatric symptoms resembling paranoia, auditory hallucination and intense prolonged insomnia will transpire if he or she abuses alcohol on a regular basis.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO AVOID PEER PRESSURE

  • Seek to build your self confidence.  For help in this area, we advise you to seek mentoring with an adult role model in your life
  • Build close network of friends who share similar values to yourself
  • Identify and befriend individuals who have ambition and goals towards improving and bettering themselves
  • Divert yourself and your friends to participate in other healthy social activities
  • Play a key role on self empowerment by standing up for students experiencing peer pressure and against those who pressure others into   drinking
  • Learn to just say “No”

Better understanding on the consequences of engaging in group drinking now will potentially save your life.
Think of the consequences when lifting up your glass next time and say ‘no to drinking games’.

For further readings
Nauret, R. 2009. Pysch Central: Peer pressure drives college drinking. 
http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/07/10/peer-pressure-drives-college-drinking/7041.html
(accessed March 19, 2010).      

US Department of Education. Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug abuse and Violence  Prevention: Academic Performance.
http://www.higheredcenter.org/high-risk/alcohol/consequences/academic-performance
(accessed March 19, 2010).

US Department of Education. Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug abuse and Violence 

Prevention: Secondary effects of alcohol abuse.
http://www.higheredcenter.org/high-risk/alcohol/consequences/secondary-effects
(accessed March 19, 2010).

Gold, M., S. 2006. Pysch Central:Frequently asked questions about alcoholism.
http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/frequently-asked-questions-about-alcoholism/
(accessed March 19, 2010).      

Reach-Out.com: Managing pressure to drink. 2001.
http://au.reachout.com/find/articles/managing-peer-pressure-to-drink

(accessed March 24, 2010).

 

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