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NCJ Number: 120075 Find in a Library
Title: Stability and Contradiction in College Students' Drinking Following a Drinking-Age Law Change
Journal: Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education  Volume:35  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1989)  Pages:60-77
Author(s): H W Perkins; A D Berkowitz
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 18
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines college students' drinking behavior and related phenomena before and after an increase in the minimum-legal-drinking age for alcoholic beverages from 18 to 19 in New York State and in light of student attitudes toward a legal age of 18, 19, or 21 subsequent to this age-law change.
Abstract: Survey data from the entire first and second year classes of students attending an undergraduate liberal arts institution in 1982 (86 percent response, N = 797), when the minimum-legal-drinking was compared with data from their counterparts in 1984 (90 percent response, N = 860) when a raised legal-drinking age of 19 had been in effect for more than a year. In contrast to the intended consequences of this legal age change for youths in general, the data indicate that students on campus who were under 19 were not particularly affected in terms of consumption rates, alcohol use attitudes, reasons for drinking, or negative consequences of alcohol use. Student opposition to the new law did not adequately account for the higher age law's apparent lack of effect in this college setting. Indeed, only a minority of students in the 1984 sample wanted the legal age to be returned to 18, even among students under 19. Moreover, most of the under-age students who supported a 19 or higher drinking-age law also reported extensive personal alcohol consumption on a weekly basis, as did the 19 and 20 year olds who believed the age law should be raised to 21. This contradiction may result from students' cognitive separation of their own behavior -- especially in the context of a campus social environment -- from drinking behavior in society in general. 3 tables, 23 references. (Author abstract)
Main Term(s): Legal drinking age
Index Term(s): Alcoholic beverage consumption; Behavior patterns; New York; Students
Note: Presented at the Joint Meeting of the American College Personnel Assoc. and the National Assoc. of Student Personnel Administrators, Chicago, March 15-18, 1987.
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