Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are growing problems in our society. Daily, people are injured and killed in alcohol-related accidents and this has an effect on each and every person as a result of these occurrences. Whether we are personally involved with an alcoholic, have directly suffered from the activities of someone who is under the influence of alcohol or have our taxes raised to support alcohol-rehabilitation programs, we all suffer from the negative consequences of alcohol. For this reason, it is imperative that we discover what factors have an effect on our decision to use alcohol and what leads us to abuse it. By learning what leads people to drink alcohol, and how this affects their lives, we can then determine what actions need to be taken to help remove ourselves from our ever-increasing attraction to alcohol.
Because the abuse of alcohol often begins with adolescents and young adults, most research is based around these important developmental years.
At this stage of life, we hope to discover, directly, reasons for alcohol use: why young people start drinking, and why they continue.
A hypothesized link between the stresses of young adulthood and alcohol use has commonly been accepted in both professional and non-professional circles for many years. Michael and Rebecca C. Windle, in their research, were able to show several reasons that provided incentives for adolescents to consume alcohol. Using a written survey, it was determined that the high-school students being studied used alcohol to cope with problems in their lives, including "task-oriented", "emotion-oriented", and "avoidance coping (Windle & Windle, 1996, p. 551)." The only major discrepancies in results between the sexes became obvious when it was shown by Windle and Windle that girls were more likely to use alcohol for avoidance and emotion-oriented coping than were boys, but the...