Binge Drinking (Final) Drinking has become an increasing problem in our society. Many people now see drinking as a norm. Lisa McIntyre, author of The Practical Skeptic states that, “For one thing, we know that norms vary across societies” (152). So we also know that what is considered to be deviant varies across societies.” How could members of our society see drinking as anything but a norm when everywhere one turns alcohol is being advertised? Whether it be on billboards, busses, in magazine ads, or television commercials, alcohol is everywhere and it seems as though everyone is drinking it. Gone are the times of prohibition, when alcohol was seen as evil. After doing quantitative research on drinking, including a literature review and studying survey data, we came to the conclusion that drinking is a serious problem in the United States. While both of us prefer not to drink, many of our peers do not share our same attitude.
In fact, it appears as if drinking is now a measure of social acceptance among teenagers and college students. Looking at the subject of drinking from a conflict theorist point-of-view helped us to understand the issue. We discovered that every social class drinks, regardless of age, income, race, or sex. We wanted to see the effects of drinking in our society and which groups of people were more likely to participate in such activities. However, when we began to search for variables of drinking, we were discouraged to find that none existed in our provided databases. “To call a concept a variable means, in the first place, that it is a thing of interest in a particular piece of research” (McIntyre 50). While we were interested in using a variable of drinking in our research, the lack of one made us assume that many members of society do not view alcohol as a serious problem, or are in denial of its effects.
Because of this, we had to use a variable of drug use, that being whether marijuana should be made legal or not, assuming that those who answered yes to the question, were current marijuana smokers. Though we do not view marijuana use as a problem, it was the only other mind-altering substance that we felt could be even mildly compared to alcohol. We do not feel that marijuana has any of the same social effects as alcohol, and is not a true problem among our society, but once again, it was the only variable we could measure. Make note that in all theories and hypothesis we tested, we actually were stating our views as though alcohol was the variable, not marijuana. We started our research by testing our theory that people who smoke marijuana were more likely to have unprotected sex, because marijuana alters the mind’s ability to think clearly. Often times, people who are “high” do not think about the risks of having unprotected sex, or even using a condom for that matter. We then developed the hypothesis that people who smoke marijuana are more likely to not use condoms during sexual intercourse.
To tests these ideas, we operationalized the dependent variable of condom, which asks the question, “The last time you had sex was a condom used? This includes vaginal, oral, or anal sex.” We then used the independent variable of grass, which asks the question, “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?” Here are the results: Table I: Whether a Person Feels That Marijuana Should be Made Legal or Not and Condom Usage The data showed that people who do not feel marijuana should be made legal are more likely to not use condoms during sex, therefore, rejecting our hypothesis and proving the exact opposite. This could be due to the fact that married people or couples in serious relationships often do not use condoms as a main form of birth control. However, the correlation was very weak, even though the probability was low. To see if our prediction about why that certain group of people were the most likely to not use condoms, we controlled for marital status. The results were basically the same except that, as we predicted, married people were more likely to not use condoms and do not feel that marijuana should be legalized. However, people who were never married were more likely to smoke weed and not use condoms. Once again, the correlations were very weak and had little or no statistical significance.
The second theory we tested was that marijuana inhibits the mind’s ability to think clearly and sometimes causes users to take actions they would not usually take under normal circumstances. Smokers often lose their inhibitions while “high,” which could lead them to have sex with people they barely know. We then hypothesized that people who smoke marijuana are more likely to have a higher number of sex partners. In order to test our ideas, we operationalized the dependent variable of sex partners, which asks the question “How many sex partners have you had in the last twelve months?”. Respondents could answer none, one, or two or more. Again, we used the question of whether or not a person thinks marijuana should be made legal or not as our independent variable.
Here is what we found: Table II: Whether a Person Feels That Marijuana Should be Made Legal or Not and Number of Sex Partners The results showed that people who smoked marijuana did, on average, have more sexual partners than non-smokers. While non-smokers did have higher percentages of one sex partner (68.1% to 59.6% for smokers), our main concern was with people who had two or more sex partners. Smokers were definitely more likely to have two or more sex partners (26.4% to 10.9% for non-smokers). Though the correlation was only moderate, the probability was an extremely low 0.000, thus making the correlation and results highly statistically significant. We wanted to see if male or female marijuana smokers were more likely to have a higher number of sex partners so we controlled for gender in the table. The results were basically the same, except that males and females who smoked marijuana had even higher percentages of two or more sex partners (32.2% for males and 20.1% for females) than in the initial data.
Once again, the data was highly statistically significant and moderately correlated. We then theorized that females tend to have more close friendships than men. This is due to the fact that women are often more open with one another and love to talk. Males may experiment with drugs in order to fill the time frame they would be spending with friends, while women fill their time with their friends talking or shopping. Created from this theory, was our hypothesis that males are more likely to smoke marijuana than females. In order to test these ideas, we had to use the measure of marijuana as our dependent variable operationalized, and the independent variable of gender, or rather respondent’s sex. These are the results: Table III.
Gender and Whether a Person Thinks That Marijuana Should be Made Legal or Not The data showed that men were more likely than women (31.4% to 23.3%) to favor the legalization of marijuana, thus leading us to infer that they are more likely to smoke marijuana. Also, men were less likely than women to feel that marijuana should not be made legal. Although the results were extremely statistically significant, the correlation was very weak. When we controlled for level of employment, the results were pretty much the same. No matter if they were working or unemployed, females were much less likely to favor the legalization of marijuana. Once again, the results were highly significant, yet weakly correlated. The next theory we tested was that people who work experience more social integration than those who are unemployed.
Because marijuana alters the mind’s thinking process, people who work are less likely to use the drug because they do not want their performance to be effected. From our theory, we developed a hypothesis that people who are employed are less likely to smoke marijuana. In order to test these ideas we used the measure of marijuana …