WASHINGTON, DC — George Mason University and The Century Council today announced the launch of a multi-year research effort, “Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America,” designed to provide a foundation for future efforts to fight underage drinking. Based at Mason and funded by The Century Council, the goal of the initiative is to better understand the psychological and sociological factors that affect youths as they make decisions regarding whether to engage in alcohol-related behaviors.
“College and university administrators deal with issues of underage drinking on their campuses often," said Mason President Alan Merten. “This research will help ‘educate the educators’ as to why young people drink and how we can most effectively communicate the risks of this behavior.”
The project will research several components of teen drinking cultures, including: the context of youths’ early experiences regarding alcohol; patterns of youth alcohol consumption; and the nature of acceptance or non-acceptance by peers, parents, community leaders, and other groups.
“Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America” will be co-directed by Mason researchers David Anderson, professor of Education and Human Development and director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Health and Hugh Gusterson, professor of Anthropology and Sociology. Dr. Anderson and Dr. Gusterson will also be guided by a national board of advisors.
Hon. Susan Molinari, Chairman of The Century Council said, “The Century Council believes the blend of cultural anthropology and public health perspectives may shed new light on the problem of underage drinking and pave the way toward identifying new and more effective solutions to this persistent problem. Our goal is to provide a research-based foundation for The Century Council’s efforts that will make an impact years into the future.”
This latest project represents the second time The Century Council has supported independent research at George Mason University focused on the fight against underage drinking. George Mason’s nationally acclaimed “Promising Practices: Campus Alcohol Strategies” initiative was also supported by a multi-year grant from The Century Council.
About George Mason University
George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.
The Century Council is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. Headquartered in Washington, D.C. and chaired by Susan Molinari, The Council develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns and promotes action through strategic partnerships. Funded by distillers, The Century Council promotes responsible decision-making regarding drinking or non-drinking of beverage alcohol and discourages all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement, and other programs. Established in 1991, The Century Council’s many projects and activities are highlighted on its website at www.centurycouncil.org.
The Century Council