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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76420 Find in a Library
Title: Literature Review of the Young Drinking Offender - Is He a Problem Drinker?
Journal: British Journal of Addiction  Volume:76  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1981)  Pages:27-46
Author(s): E Vingilis
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 20
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Juvenile drinking patterns and the relationship of youths' drinking habits to general and alcohol-related crimes are explored by reviewing findings of recent literature.
Abstract: Although studies show that drinking rates are high among delinquent adolescents, there is little evidence of a definite association between delinquency and problem drinking. Literature on the subject is marred by methodological weaknesses, such as a lack of control groups, arbitrary definitions of problem drinking, and lack of specificity and delineation of certain crucial variables. Similarly, the studies on the drinking habits of adolescents charged with alcohol-related crimes and liquor law violations conflict regarding whether these adolescents consume more alcohol than their nonalcohol-related delinquent and nondelinquent counterparts, although there is some suggestion that they do. Once again, however, control groups are so small and inadequate that generalizations are difficult. Studies of personality and social characteristics suggest that delinquents involved in alcohol-related crimes are similar to delinquents involved in nonalcohol-related crimes except that the juveniles involved in alcohol-related crimes may be heavier drinkers. As numerous ambiguities and contradictions exist in literature, the validity of using alcohol-related trouble with the law as an index for problem drinking is questionable. Juveniles charged with liquor law violations do not seem to have social or psychological characteristics that distinguish them from delinquents in general, and yet some studies indicate that they drink more but are involved in less serious additional crimes than minimally alcohol-involved delinquents. However, when serious crimes are committed, the delinquents report themselves to be under the influence of alcohol more often. The connection of alcohol consumption to a social behavior of juveniles and the long-term effects of heavy drinking among youthful drinking offenders must be assessed in studies using adequate control groups and independent and objective measures of alcohol involvement as well as subjective reporting. Two extensive tables summarizing pertinent studies and references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Alcohol abuse; Alcohol-Related Offenses; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile Delinquent behavior; Juvenile Delinquent-nondelinquent comparisons; Literature reviews; Research methods
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