Monitoring High School Drinking Patterns and Influences: A Preliminary Focus Group Interview Approach

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A senes of focus group interviews were conducted with 11th- and 12th-grade high school students to explore in-depth perceptions of alcohol consumption patterns, influences on consumption, and appropriate interventions. The findings corroborate and extend our previous results from a large scale empirical survey of high school drinking patterns and suggest that alcohol education programs should include material that teaches students how to (a) identify intoxication in themselves and others, (b) intervene when peers they don't know are going to drive drunk, (c) explore values regarding alcohol that go beyond simply saying “no”, in order to identify patterns of responsible consumption (e.g., why should a teen say “no”?), and (d) address the role that parents may play in preventing alcohol abuse and impaired driving among their children. It is argued that qualitative research techniques, such as the focus group interview, can serve as a valuable adjunct to quantitative survey techniques in both the formative stages of program development and the summative stages of program assessment.

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