Alcohol: A social dilemma :a critical analysis of a course in alcohol education




Karas, Donald S.,1946-

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Sam Houston State University


The purpose of this research project was to evaluate a course designed to instruct students in all aspects of alcohol use and abuse. The origin of the study was the creation of a new course at the Institute of Contemporary Corrections and the Behavioral Sciences at Sam Houston State University. The course, entitled “Alcohol: A Social Dilemma,” gives a general overview of the facts, figures, and problems associated with alcohol consumption and abuse. Using the course as a dispensing agent, subjects were tested prior to, and after, introduction of the independent variable (knowledge) to ascertain if any knowledge increase had occurred, and if the subjects had experienced any attitude change toward the problem of alcohol abuse. Methodology: There were two types of tests utilized in the measurement of the subjects involved in the study. To measure the subjects’ knowledge increase, they were administered teacher made pre and post objective tests for each of the teaching units of the course. Semantic differential tests, as detailed by Osgood, Tannenbaum, and Suci, were administered to discover any attitude changes. Use of the incidental sample was defended because of the limited generalization for which the results are intended. For simplicity and clarity, the knowledge increase was tested in each of the seven teaching units of the course, and overall. The attitude change was measured overall, and also for the specific areas of alcohol, alcoholism, social drinking, and driving while intoxicated. The tests were created by the author and tested for reliability and validity. All proved to be homogeneous, and therefore showed significant odd-even reliability. Although it cannot be measured, the perceptual concept of face validity was shown to be sufficient. Design of the study was an attempt to meet the goals of all experiments, demonstrate a relationship between the dependent and independent variable, and be able to generalize the results to the population from which the sample was drawn. Data were evaluated using the standard t test for correlated data. Null hypotheses were used and were tested at the .01 level of proof. Rejection at this level indicated only a one in 100 chance of being wrong. Procedures for the evaluation of results were essentially those of al standard t tests. Null hypotheses were postulated showing no difference between the means being studied. Any differences found between the means of the pre and post tests were treated as deviations. Finally, all deviations were treated to see if they were significant. Findings: Of the nine hypotheses tested, the first eight had to do with knowledge increase. Of these eight, numbers one, two, three, four, five, six, and eight were rejected. The rejection of these hypotheses indicates a significant knowledge increase in the overall area of alcohol and alcohol abuse. The acceptance of hypothesis seven indicates that in the specific area of alcohol and public safety, classroom instruction did not produce a significant knowledge increase. Hypothesis nine was concerned with attitude change. The change was quite small, and since it was not large enough to be significant, hypothesis nine was accepted.



Alcoholism, Alcoholism--Study and teaching