Purpose and rationale
Research Aim & Objective
Strategies and methods to achieve aim and objective
Strengths and limitations of the approach
Binge drinking is an event of high-volume alcohol consumption and is one of the major issues placing adolescents at risk. As reported in the AIHW, 2020, 1 in every 4 Australian was estimated to binge drinking roughly once a month (Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, 2020). Alcohol is an integral part and plays an important role in Australia and into people’s social lives. Young kids easily get influenced by the community attitude and reliance towards alcohol. It was reported that 75.9% of individual’s, aged 18 to 19 years, binge drink at least once a week (Tavolacci et al., 2018).
Even with all the research work which is already present, it is difficult to find a direct correlation of the strategies for school kids and how they impact positively. There are many dangers associated with binge drinking, these include physical harm to the individual or others, driving under the influence, legal consequences and unsafe sex. As there are many risk factors associated with binge drinking, prevention methods during pre-adulthood is necessary. As the brain is not fully developed until an individual is 25 years old, alcohol consumption prior to this can significantly impair the development and functioning of the brain (Squeglia & Gray, 2016).
Heavy episodic drinking give rise to serious health issues and severe consequences. Drinking alcohol is deeply ingrained in our society so changing the attitudes and behaviors is the most important aspect to make future generations healthy. Creating awareness and knowledge to young people about the impacts of drinking on human body and brain can result in fewer repercussions. The aim of our study is to reduce the occurrence of young adult’s binge drinking by changing their attitudes, values and behavior by individual and socio-environmental approaches. This research would focus on determining the action plan which would change the behavior and attitude on consumption of alcohol by young people. In Australia, as adolescents are at a major risk it becomes crucial to create an action plan and awareness among individuals at younger age about extreme binge and the consumption of dangerously high quantities of alcohol.
The objectives of the research are as follows:
a. To promote awareness among young people about the negative outcomes of alcohol drinking.
b. To identify the impacts of drinking on development of young brains and cognitive mental health issues.
c. To understand socio-environmental factors influencing binge drinking in young people.
According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), intake of alcohol that elevates the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) volume to 0.8 g/dL is referred to as ‘binge drinking’ (NIAAA, 2020). Teenagers are expected to hit BACs exceeding than 0.8 g/dL easily at lower alcohol consumption. In a study by Donovan, population data of average body weight of both girls and boys of ages 9-14 were used, the study estimated unforeseen results; binge drinking was predicted to take place after consumption of 3 or more drinks in a 2 hours span for kids of age 9 to13 (Chung et al., 2018).
Certain strategies need to be followed to reduce binge drinking in young people like awareness programs in school, mass media campaigns, and increasing the legal Australian drinking age. We suggest the implementation of a prominent alcohol awareness element in the school curriculum, to shift future alcohol consumption patterns of young adults. These school based campaigns encourage development of new attitudes towards drinking in adolescents before they can legally drink. The use of scenarios and stories of the consequences of binge drinking, aims to alter students' attitudes.
Likewise, mass media campaigns use the principles of Social Cognitive Theory, by attempting to alter individual beliefs and values reflected in their health practice. We recommend the revival of mass media campaigns which engage with modern media platforms, which have high levels of young users. Exposure to alcohol advertisements at a young age may affect attitudes and beliefs around drinking. A systematic review on the effects of alcohol marketing on young people, found that young people who had a greater exposure to alcohol advertising were more inclined to begin binge drinking at an earlier age (Jernigan et al., 2016).
School based education on alcohol awareness encourages the development of new attitude and awareness towards drinking before they can legally drink. Mass media campaign engages with young people and this helps to increase education of the harms of alcohol use and shift attitudes toward drinking. The prohibition of alcohol advertising prevents the positive affective responses towards alcohol. By increasing the legal drinking age, we are able to restrict access as well as allow young people to be more mature and informed when they reach the legal age. Moreover, implementing educational strategies for students in school enables a shift in these beliefs early on.
This early in life intervention results in benefits long term for the healthcare system. Our study will challenge these beliefs and shed light on the reality and dangers of binge drinking to create a message that will have a profound impact. When conducting a research, considering the ethics is a must. For the research, various journals, books would be used which would consider various ethics for all the stages of study including the design and reporting. Limitations of a study affect the interpretation of the observations of the research (Greener, 2018). Further, in order for widespread change a collective effort from both communities and individuals is required to advocate for the shift in attitude.
Shifting the current Australian drinking culture poses a challenge due to the deeply rooted norms at present, however, our campaign does not intent on restricting all forms of advertising and the increase in age is in the interest for safety.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol/alcohol-tobacco-other-drugs-australia/contents/interactive-data/alcohol
Chung, T., Creswell, K. G., Bachrach, R., Clark, D. B., & Martin, C. S. (2018). Adolescent binge drinking: Developmental context and opportunities for prevention. Alcohol research: current reviews, 39(1), 5-15.
Greener, S. (2018). Research limitations: the need for honesty and common sense. Interactive Learning Environments, 26(5), 567-568.
Jernigan, D., Noel, J., Landon, J., Thornton, N., & Lobstein, T. (2017). Alcohol marketing and youth alcohol consumption: a systematic review of longitudinal studies published since 2008. Addiction, 112, 7-20.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.(2020). Drinking levels defined. Retrieved from: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking
Squeglia, L. M., &Gray, K. M. (2016). Alcohol and Drug Use and the Developing Brain. Current psychiatry reports, 18(5), 46-46.
Tavolacci, M. P., Berthon, Q., Cerasuolo, D., Dechelotte, P., Baguet, A., & Ladner, J. (2018). Frequent binge drinking during the 18–25-year-olds: A risk of adulthood alcohol dependence. Elsevier, 66(5), S415-S416.
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