College Drinking: Reframing a Social Problem / Changing the Culture

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Drinking is recognized as one of the most important problems confronting students on campus today, with major impacts on health and safety.

This book answers crucial questions about why students drink, examines its complex links to campus crime and sexual assault, and offers new insights on how to address the issue.

It differs from other studies of college drinking by dispelling the myth that the problem is universal. Dowdall’s research reveals that the incidence of alcohol abuse varies enormously between colleges, and in doing so identifies interventions and policies that have been effective, and those that have failed. His study is also unique in looking “upstream” at the broader cultural, organizational and social forces that shape this behavior, where most studies focus only on “downstream” behaviors, well after students have selected their college and have started drinking.

Students and parents can take action to lower the risk of binge drinking by following the book’s recommendations, and consulting the data it provides about alcohol violations and crime at thousands of colleges. For administrators and student affairs personnel, it both defines and illuminates the issue, and outlines effective interventions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From reviews of the previous edition:
“Problems of underage and binge drinking on college campuses range from benign to tragic. In 2007, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office appealed to Americans to reduce binge drinking in young people. If we are to answer this call to action, we first need to a have a comprehensive and critical look at the scope of this problem. George W. Dowdall’s College Drinking provides this necessary overview of what society needs to understand and address with drinking on college campuses.

This book provides a complete account of the scope of the college drinking problem and any researcher in the field will find it to be an important resource because of its comprehensive and compelling scholarship. Any parent or student who is interested and concerned about college drinking will find this book to be of great value. Future college students and their parents will be particularly interested in the considerable information about alcohol use and abuse, alcohol policies, and crime levels on different college campuses. Dowdall’s ability to straddle the needs of the academic, college administrator, public official, parent and student makes this book a must-have on the shelves of both college and public libraries.”

“The author synthesizes empirical work on the topic of college drinking from the past 60 to 80 years that has often been disparate, and he provides an evaluation of the problems associated with college drinking, how university and public policy influence heavy drinking, and what can and should be done to address heavy drinking among college students. Dr. Dowdall is uniquely qualified to provide an examination of college drinking given his extensive experience as both a researcher in the field of substance use as well as a regular and visiting faculty member at several colleges and universities across the country.

This book has wide-ranging appeal because it provides valuable information for parents and students who are either thinking about applying to colleges or have already entered college as well as for university counselors, administrators, and policy makers.

From whatever vantage point the reader is coming, Dr. Dowdall offers recommendations for what can be done to address the problem of heavy drinking among college students. He provides useful information for not only what colleges can do to prevent or intervene with heavy drinking on their campuses but also how students and parents can be active participants in efforts to change college environments and reduce the problems associated with heavy drinking.

This book [is] a great first step in bringing about change in the culture of college drinking.”

College Drinking is a candid account of college student drinking presented in a social context that highlights the disconnect between the current problem and possible solutions.
The book highlights the need for institutional accountability and in so doing, provides solid advice and constructive criticism of what colleges and universities could be doing to address this public health concern.

The author offers multifaceted solutions appropriate for a complex social problem that combine research, policy, enforcement strategies and the potential responsibilities of administrators, parents, and students. In addition, predictors and correlates of high risk college drinking are provided which may be helpful for individuals working in student affairs in identifying high risk students and intervene early in an attempt to prevent serious alcohol related problems from occurring.

In comparison the other recent books on the topic, Dowdall’s book is more broad-based, yet also more comprehensive, and utilizes a wider range of scientific and professional resources, and provides more evidence-based suggestions for change to a wider audience. If there is a book that can reach all intended audiences (college administrators, governmental policy makers, practitioners, scientists, parents, and students), Dowdall’s book seems to do it. Readers of varied backgrounds should all come away with useful information and suggestions for changes."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579228132
  • Publisher: Stylus Publishing, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/28/2012
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 14.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

George W. Dowdall is Professor of Sociology at Saint Joseph 's University. His research and teaching interests include mental health, substance use, and research methods. He has been a faculty member at Indiana University, Buffalo State, and Saint Joseph's, and has held visiting appointments at UCLA, the University of Pennsylvania, the Brown University School of Medicine, and the Harvard School of Public Health. His publications include The Eclipse Of The State Mental Hospital, and numerous journal articles on college student drinking. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Advisory Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse and the Board of Directors of Security on Campus, Inc.

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Table of Contents

Figures and Tables
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Revised Edition

1) College Drinking as a Social Problem
2) Reframing College Drinking
3) The Impact of College Drinking
4) The “Dark Figure” of Alcohol-Related Campus Crime: The Gap Between Reported Incidents and Victimizations
5) Work Hard, Play Hard: College Drinking, Social Life, and Sex
6) Public Alcohol Policy and College Drinking
7) The College Response: Reframing Prevention
8) What More Can Colleges Do?
9) How to Cope with College Drinking: What Students and Parents Can Do

Afterword: 2013—Changing the Culture of College Drinking
Appendix A: Sources for Further Information
Appendix B: Methods and Data
Appendix C: Timeline of Important Events Shaping College Drinking
Appendix D: Alcohol and Crime Data for Colleges

About the Author index

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