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Sin Beyond Surfers? Young People's Risky Behaviour During Schoolies Week in Three Queensland Regions

NCJ Number
Drug and Alcohol Review Volume: 18 Issue: 3 Dated: September 1999 Pages: 279-285
L. Zinkiewicz; J. Davey; D. Curd
Date Published
7 pages
Six hundred fifty-eight youths who were celebrating Schoolies Week following the last week of high school in the Queensland Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, or Wide Bay regions of Australia were studied with respect to their drug use and interpersonal conflict within the previous 24 hours.
The participants were Queensland residents, were mostly 17 or 18 years old, and included 291 males and 367 females. They engaged in very high levels of consumption of alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy in comparison to general population statistics. Males were heavier marijuana users and drinkers than were females and experienced more negative consequences of drinking. They also experienced more interpersonal conflict, although females were more likely to report being sexually harassed. Behavior was riskier at the Gold Coast than elsewhere; males engaged in riskier behavior in each region than did females. Drinkers were more likely than others to report using marijuana and alcohol and to experience the consequences of alcohol. Findings suggested that all areas in which Schoolies Weeks are celebrated need harm-minimization interventions targeted to Schoolies Week participants, although a particular need exists at the Gold Coast. Data also suggested that current interventions may be inadequate in preventing harm to participants and may need to focus on participants' expectations of the consequences of celebrations. Tables and 5 references (Author abstract modified)