Underage Drinking Case Study

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Underage drinking can facilitate poor judgment that poses countless health and safety risks including drinking and driving, violent behavior, and unwarranted or unprotected sexual activity; consequences may lead to disciplinary actions performed by the school or even with the law. Data concluded from a 2003 case study included in Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility, a book which details the developmental and environmental factors concerning groups of adolescents in relation to normative alcohol consumption, finds that the cost of social underage drinking at approximately $53 billion, and further cost of $49 billion relating to traffic accidents and violent crimes while illegally under the influence. In fact 11% of all alcohol …show more content…
Many essential and challenging changes take place for these adolescents, predominantly regarding physical maturity and puberty, cognitive dissonance, and the normative social and cultural influences. Physically, changes during development and puberty, result in characteristics more like that of an adult (i.e. hair growth in new places, body odor, lower voice in boys, breast growth and menstruation in girls) consequently, these adolescents feel that they are now more deserving of adult privilege- opportunities for the rights and privileges for the control of one’s own decisions. Additionally, social changes accompanied by the newly placed value on peer acceptance which naturally leads to increased time among peers, develops the range of experiences, perceptions, and comparisons of other peer’s seemingly adult privileges versus their own. These factors serve as a pivotal point for adolescents in order to push them into assuming a more adult role; unfortunately many of these teens come to regard alcohol use as an important symbol of adult status and equate drinking alcohol to adult privilege. Many of these youths feel conflicted as their changing perceptions of the world and the desire for autonomy and the moralistic behavioral expectations provided by society, peers, and parents are not always consistent. Essentially, the collective expectations that adolescents should start assuming and practicing more adult roles is juxtaposed against the adolescents need to develop a sense of self-identity and self-image. Many youths feel this sort of cognitive dissonance and look to the more authoritative beliefs provided by peers and mentors to dissuade altering ideals while seeking cognitive consistency. Youth’s vulnerability to mental dissonance and desire for approval encourages the

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