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Life Problems Experienced From Drinking: Factors Associated With Level of Problem Drinking Among Youthful DWI Offenders

NCJ Number
Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education Volume: 30 Issue: 3 Dated: (1985) Pages: 65-82
M L Lightsey; M E Sweeney
Date Published
18 pages
Data from 2,560 Mississippi youths age 15 to 24 who had been convicted of drunk driving for the first time formed the basis of an analysis of these youths' general life problems relating to their use of alcohol; of the social, personal, and behavioral factors associated with their problem drinking; and the relationship between problem drinking and involvement in accidents at the time of arrest.
The sample consisted of all youths who attended the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program (MASEP) from 1976 through June 1981 and completed a personal data questionnaire. More than 25 percent showed a high problem drinking level, and 47 percent were in the middle range of problem drinking. Factors that appeared to play a crucial role in the start or continuation of problem drinking were depressed socioeconomic conditions, prohibitionist socialization factors, abusive drinker models, personal drinking behaviors, and immature drinking motivations. Offenders who had higher-level drinking problems were more likely to have been involved in a traffic accident on the date of their arrest than were offenders with lower-level drinking problems. Programs like MASEP represent a resource both for research data and for identifying problem drinkers who need treatment-oriented programs in addition to alcohol-traffic safety education. Tables and 24 references.