The research includes a blend of methodologies, including teen and parent focus groups, expert and key informant interviews, community leader discussions, a literature review, and telephone polling, with the aim a taking a fresh look at the dynamics of teen drinking. The research reports provide a foundation for program and policy development, as well as a series of recommendations involving youth, parents, and the community.
Highlights from the research include:
- In broad terms, teens report drinking has become normative for teens to get together for the purpose of drinking and that drinking can be a way of dealing with stress. Teens report obtaining alcohol is easy and that they tend to drink whatever alcohol is available.
- School officials and teens both feel the alcohol awareness programs currently in schools are ineffective. Both target audiences suggest there is a discrepancy on what students are told about alcohol in and outside of school and their own experiences.
- Parents, in general, are unsure of how to address the issue of teen drinking with their son/daughter or other parents. Parents often rely on alcohol education being taught by the school, and expect teen drinking behavior is shaped by peer pressure and official educational campaigns.
Overall the recommendations from this research emphasize the importance of understanding the complexity of youth alcohol culture milieu and the importance of engaging key influencers of youth in fact-based approaches to address the varied and multifaceted issues surrounding teens and drinking.