Navigation Links
School policies reduce student drinking -- if they're perceived to be enforced

"Just say no" has been many a parent's mantra when it comes to talking to their children about drugs or alcohol. Schools echo that with specific policies against illicit use on school grounds. But do those school policies work?

University of Washington professor of social work Richard Catalano and colleagues studied whether anti-alcohol policies in public and private schools in Washington state and Australia's Victoria state were effective for eighth- and ninth-graders.

What they found was that each school's particular policy mattered less than the students' perceived enforcement of it. So, even if a school had a suspension or expulsion policy, if students felt the school didn't enforce it then they were more likely to drink on campus. But, even if a school's policy was less harsh such as requiring counseling students were less likely to drink at school if they believed school officials would enforce it.

"Whatever your school policy is, lax enforcement is related to more drinking," Catalano said.

The study was published recently in the journal Health Education Research.

The results were similar in Washington, where the legal drinking age is 21 and schools tend to have a zero-tolerance approach, and Victoria, Australia, where the legal drinking age is 18 and policies are more about minimizing harm.

In the study, 44 percent of Victoria eighth-graders and 22 percent of Washington eighth-graders reported drinking alcohol. Victoria students also reported higher rates of binge drinking and alcohol-related harms.

Apart from perceptions about enforcement, harmful behaviors in both states were reduced when students believed policy violators would likely be counseled by a teacher on the dangers of alcohol use, rather than expelled or suspended.

"Schools should focus on zero tolerance and abstinence in primary and early middle school, but sometime between middle school and high school they have to blend in zero tolerance with harm minimization," said Catalano, director of the Social Development Research Group at the UW School of Social Work and principal investigator for the International Youth Development Study. "By the time they get into high school they need new strategies."

Those strategies could include talking to a teacher or being referred to treatment. The likelihood of binge drinking was reduced if students received an abstinence alcohol message or a harm minimization message, and if they believed teachers would talk to them about the dangers of alcohol. Catalano said such remediation policies are an important predictor of less alcohol use among ninth-graders.

He said the study shows harsh punishment for drinking on school grounds, such as calling the police or expelling the student, doesn't inhibit alcohol use on campus. Instead, long-term negative impacts of expulsion mean students feel disconnected from school and may subsequently drink more. Calling the police, which gives the student a police record, appears to make things even worse.

"What we've seen in other studies from this sample is suspension policies actually worsen the behavior problem," Catalano said. "What that says to me is, although you want policies and you want enforcement of policies, there are other ways of responding than suspension, expulsion and calling the police: Getting a student to talk to a teacher about how alcohol might be harmful, or a session with the school counselor."


Contact: Richard Catalano
University of Washington

Related medicine news :

1. Even Preschoolers View the Overweight Negatively
2. Catastrophic Head Injuries to High School Football Players Rising
3. That impulsive, moody preschooler may grow up to be a problem gambler
4. Some Schools Dont Let Kids Carry Asthma Inhalers
5. Awards to 5 IU School of Medicine physicians address critical need for geriatricians
6. Excessive sleepiness may be cause of learning, attention and school problems
7. Study: More Pre-Teens Get Vaccines When Middle Schools Require Them
8. A place to play: Researcher designs schoolyard for children with autism
9. Fees Lead Some Kids to Skip After-School Sports: Survey
10. Outstanding high school students receive awards to stimulate research interest in digestive diseases
11. The Tennessee Car Accident Lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates Alert Public of CDC Survey Revealing Majority of High School Seniors Admitting to Texting Behind Wheel
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... Austin, TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for ... popular and highly effective treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin ... injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his ... of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Marne, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... awareness about the dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, ... for individuals who are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... up with the American Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive ... care to seniors and other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at its production facility, ... Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete system of proactive ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a leading ... and more durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced ... Series-A funding is led by Innova Memphis, followed ... other private investors.  Arkis, new financing will accelerate ... the market release of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ... (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic Chemical), Functionality (Filler, ... Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to reach USD 8.1 ... the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Capricor Therapeutics, ... a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development ... patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne clinical ... 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects the ... quarter of 2016, and to report top line ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: