The possible role of alcohol use as a coping mechanism of school stress among adolescents.
Authors:Enrique Ortega, Jose Rodriguez
Mentor:Enrique Ortega, Professor, Caifornia State University Dominguez Hills
This study investigated the potential association between school stress and alcohol use among a group of European adolescents. I hypothesized that a positive correlation would exist between the experience of school stress and alcohol use. The literature in this area of study indicates that while alcohol use is mostly experimental among this population, there is a need to understand what other functions alcohol may play in an adolescent life, for example as a coping mechanism to deal with school related stress. Furthermore there is a need to explore the possible role of gender in this potential association. The sample consisted of 475 Italian and Dutch adolescent boys (52%) and girls (48%) ages from 15 to 19.The participants were representative of the population of adolescents attending high school in northern Italy and Holland. Bivariate correlations and t-tests were used to explore the hypothesized associations. This investigation employed secondary analysis investigative methods. T-tests revealed that there were no mean gender differences in the perception of school stress or in alcohol use. The test of correlation showed that school stress and alcohol drinking were significantly associated but in a negative direction (r= -.174, p <.001). These findings suggest that alcohol use among adolescents may still only be used for experimentation purposes and not as a coping mechanism for school related stress. Further studies are required which can help investigators further understand the role of alcohol on adolescents’ lives and their coping mechanisms.