Lowering the Drinking Age the Term Paper

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The issue was a charged issue that many people felt very strongly about, i.e. race and was an allowable and supported social stigma, and yet when faced with the real life decision to break the taboo and serve Chinese people they did so with little hesitation and then effectively lied about it in self report. (Pager & Lincoln, 2005, p. 355)

Drinking and driving is a seriously socially charged issue that could have the same self-report results if given the correct avenue to do so. The self-report dogmatic dialogue regarding drinking and driving is an absolute rejection of the behavior (even after 1-2 drinks as is asked in the New Zealand Study) and yet this is an attitude and a self-report dogma, what we would say when offered the social choice, not a real reflection of how individuals would behave if given the opportunity to drink and drive. Another fault I found within the New Zealand study is that the study looked at a group of college age individuals who were all 20 years old, even though the drinking age had recently been lowered to 18 years of age. The significance of this oversight is that the 18 and 19-year-olds who were likely even more profoundly affected by the chance (as they would have had to wait 2-3 years rather than 1 to drink legally) were ignored. The twenty-year-old (college students) on the other hand reiterated dogmatic feelings regarding DUI driving that would be expected of almost any group and even had negative words to say about younger legal drinkers, and that fact that they would choose to drink at locations where younger drinkers were not found. I fail to see the importance of this issue other than to say that the social stigma of youthful drinking is alive and well among people who are but 1-2 years older than their legal drinking partners. (Brownfield, Fernando & Halberstadt, 2003, p. 22)


The discussion associated with these two works served to answer a number of questions regarding the variety and vastness of the sociological and other scientific research discussions regarding the effects of the lowered drinking age on DUI behaviors.
The work demonstrates that there is a significant difference between the manner in which the issue is discussed and the validity of the resulting research. The formative research that reviewed real incidence of DUI behavior (and minimal self report of drinking and driving) gave credence to the idea that there is a significant correlation between the drinking age and the number of DUI incidents and accidents. (Wagenaar & Toomey, 2002) While the New Zealand study gave greater precedence to the need to reevaluate the foundations of self-report attitudinal research results, once again to call into question the survey form of data collection, especially with regard to highly charges social issues such as drinking and driving. (Brownfield, Fernando & Halberstadt, 2003) the New Zealand Study could be expanded to include a larger age range but could also be more reflective if the group was larger and incidence of actual DUI events were recorded rather than the individuals dogmatic feeling about driving while intoxicated. The Wagenaar & Toomey study was enlightening and upon further analysis could result in a whole set of how the issue could better studied.


Brownfield, K., Fernando, K., & Halberstadt, J. (2003). Indirect Effects of Lowering the Drinking Age on New Zealand Students' Alcohol-Related Behaviours and Attitudes. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 32(1), 22. Retrieved May 28, 2008, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001970912

Fagan, J. (2005, September). Adolescents, Maturity, and the Law: Why Science and Development Matter in Juvenile Justice. The American Prospect, 16, 5.

Fillmore, M.T., Carscadden, J.L., & Vogel-Sprott, M. (1998). Alcohol, Cognitive Impairment and Expectancies. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 59(2), 174.

A and Lincoln Q. Walking the Talk? What Employers Say vs. What They Do. American Sociological Review 70: 2005, 355-380.

Sarkar, S., & Andreas, M. (2004). Acceptance of and Engagement in Risky Driving….....

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