Effects of social institutions on adolescent alcohol use
Kopp, Rebecca Lynn
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Today, underage alcohol use is considered a growing social issue. Social scientists often look at the social environment and the institutions of family, school, and religion to understand the onset of adolescent alcohol abuse. Using data from Waves I and II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, I test the extent to which family, school, and religion affect adolescent alcohol use. Multiple regression models focus on the effects of school attachment and commitment, religious attachment, and family bonding on adolescent alcohol use, while controlling for age, gender, race, economic status, and family structure. The results are consistent with other research on the subject showing that adolescents with less time spent in traditional social institutions will have higher frequencies of alcohol use in the past 12 months. Findings show that there is a significant effect (p=.05) of religion, family bonding, and school attachment on adolescent alcohol use. This study adds to the current research on social predictors of adolescent alcohol use. Through this research, policy makers may be able to develop better programs to aid adolescents. Future research includes coupling this model with qualitative methods to help provide insights into adolescent choices regarding alcohol.