Intoxication and bad behaviour: understanding cultural differences in the link.
ABSTRACT Research developments since the appearance of MacAndrew and Edgerton's landmark volume, Drunken Comportment (1969), are summarized. The challenge of moving beyond the book is to understand what lies behind cultural variations in drunken comportment. Four specific factors in variations in drunken comportment are discussed. (1) A common contrast is between "wet" societies, where drinking is banalized everyday, and "dry" societies, where alcohol is set apart as a special commodity. Problems with this contrast are discussed, and the need for cross-cultural studies comparing expectancies from intoxication. (2) There is a need to study variations in the definition of intoxication as a "time out" state. In some societies, intoxication is likened to possession by spirits; a rationalistic version of this can be found in Canadian court decisions viewing extreme intoxication as potentially "akin to automatism". (3) If bad behaviour is a foreseeable consequence of drinking, why do some societies nevertheless not hold the drinker responsible'? In Anglo-American and similar societies, drunkenness has some excuse value, but it is not a very good excuse. Compromises like this seem to be found also in other cultures. (4) Pseudointoxication is fairly widespread, and seems to mark social situations where alcohol has enhanced excuse value. It appears to be a stratagem of the weaker side across cultural boundaries, and of the young where age-grading favours older groups. Concerning the possibility of cultural changes in drunken comportment, it is argued that there are historical examples, but such a shift requires a substantial social change.
SourceAvailable from: Michael John Livingston
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The New Zealand media sensationalises the issue of teenage drinking. It also frames school formals (balls or proms) and associated after parties as problematic sites, since young people may drink to excess at such events. This article explores the alcohol consumption patterns of a group of year 13 students on the night of their school formal. Adults' permissive attitudes towards their own and young people's alcohol consumption on the night are discussed to highlight how drinking is almost necessary for socialisation in a New Zealand context. The majority of student participants reported that they drank in moderation on the night and some were intolerant of intoxicated peers. This poses a challenge to New Zealand media depictions of the school formal and after party as ‘drunken affairs’. Some international students did drink to excess at unofficial after parties organised by students and/or parents in two of three participating schools. Rather than this reflecting negatively on the students concerned, such behaviour can be read as a reflection on New Zealand's binge drinking culture. This article concludes with suggestions for how schools can create safer after parties which may reduce the chances of young people engaging in ‘risky’ drinking behaviours at such events.Journal of Youth Studies 07/2014; 18(1):118-132. DOI:10.1080/13676261.2014.933201 · 1.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Highlights •Particularly, in late adolescence, boys drank more frequently and were more often drunk. •Girls drank more because of coping motives; boys more because of social/enhancement motives. •Higher drinking frequency in southern/central Europe; northern Europe more drunkenness. •Cultural drinking differences are mediated via social, enhancement, and coping motives. ________________________________________ Abstract Purpose To test whether differences in alcohol use between boys and girls and between northern and southern/central Europe are mediated by social, enhancement, coping, and conformity motives. Methods Cross-sectional school-based surveys were conducted among 33,813 alcohol-using 11- to 19-year-olds from northern Europe (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Poland, Scotland, and Wales) and southern/central Europe (Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, and Switzerland). Results Particularly in late adolescence and early adulthood, boys drank more frequently and were more often drunk than girls. Instead of mediation, gender-specific motive paths were found; 14- to 16-year-old girls drank more because of higher levels of coping motives and lower levels of conformity motives, whereas 14- to 19-year-old boys drank more because of higher levels of social and enhancement motives. Geographical analyses confirmed that adolescents from southern/central European countries drank more frequently, but those from northern Europe reported being drunk more often. The strong indirect effects demonstrate that some of the cultural differences in drinking are because of higher levels of social, enhancement, and coping motives in northern than in southern/central Europe. Conclusions The results from the largest drinking motive study conducted to date suggest that gender-specific prevention should take differences in the motivational pathways toward (heavy) drinking into account, that is, positive reinforcement seems to be more important for boys and negative reinforcement for girls. Preventive action targeting social and enhancement motives and taking drinking circumstances into account could contribute to tackling underage drinking in northern Europe.Journal of Adolescent Health 01/2015; 56(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.10.267 · 2.75 Impact Factor