Research report: Alcohol consumption which is preferred to ‘alcohol abuse’ in...

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ASTRACT
Alcohol consumption which is preferred to ‘alcohol abuse’ in students’ environment because its consequences including high-risk sexual behaviors has been one of the most concerned problem at present. This study explored university students’ attitudes towards the relation between alcohol abuse and sexual behaviors by using English and Vietnamese version of questionnaires to collect data about the state of alcohol use and sexual behaviors as well as students’ attitudes towards this problem. In April, 2008, a survey was completed by 64 subjects from three universities in Hanoi with age range from 19-25. It is noted that 85.9% of respondents who reported ever drinking alcohol. In addition, there is increase in alcohol drinking rates, frequencies, and likelihood of engagement in sexual behaviors in both males and females inspire of differences in alcohol use and sexual behaviors by genders. It is suggested that there should be availably a educational program with regard to this issue.

Body:
University students’ attitude towards the relation between alcohol abuse and sexual behaviors

I. Introduction:
Alcohol consumption is one of the most common activities which is integral part of parties, meetings, to students and considered to be rather suitable to their yet-to-be limited pocket. They drink alcohol when they are happy or sad, alone or together with friends, at home or at restaurant or in any other places where they can drink. Nothing is the matter if they can control the number of drinks and themselves but alcohol drinking is mostly defined as alcohol abuse because according to the report of the department for pupil and student affairs (Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam), 90% of the cases of student breaking law is caused by beer and alcohol. Notably,
in a study of college students, it was found that 40.7% of males and 27.8% of females stated that they had engaged in sexual intercourse under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol when they would not otherwise have engaged in these behaviors [Piombo and Piles, (1996) as cited in (Kaljee, L.M. et al., 2005)].
As can be seen that consequences of drinking is unanticipated. In this research, the state of alcohol abuse and sexual behaviors is explored with purposes to discover the relation of alcohol drinking and sexual behaviors as well as university students’ attitude towards this problem.

II. Materials and methods
Data was collected by developing a questionnaire (Appendix). Questions were designed to find out information for two main aspects: self-report on alcohol use as well as sexual activities and attitudes of the students towards their relation. In addition, items were modified to be suitable for Vietnamese youth culture, as well as research purposes. The modification included additional questions on experience of sexual intercourse in order to achieve further information about this sensitive matter. Before administration of the survey, the questionnaire was trialed by a group of second-year English majors on a random basis. However, almost the subjects are from universities relating to natural sciences and the English questionnaires were too demanding for them. Therefore, Vietnamese version were processed to ensure that all of them can understand and answer the questions correctly.
The subjects of the research are 50 students from Construction university, Phuong dong university and 14 students from Hanoi university. In total, there are 43 males and 21 females with age range from 19 - 25, all from Hanoi and some other provinces, Vietnam.
The survey was conducted at Civil Engineering university, Phuong dong university and Hanoi university in April, 2008. The participants of each university were gathered together to one classroom. Each one had their own questionnaire and were noted to read them carefully before answering.

III. Results and discussion
Based on the previous studies and articles, this section is divided into 3 main parts: self-reported alcohol use, relation between alcohol use and sexual behaviors and student’s attitudes towards and perception of alcohol use and sexual behaviors. The division is to discover the similarities and differences of results between our research and referred literature.
1.Self-reported alcohol use
An unwholesome trend existing commonly in student community which is the alcoholization of students’ lifestyles and its example is that birthday parties and other celebrations cannot be short of binges all night, in other word. In those binges, there are non-drinkers and people who don’t like drinking, forced to drink because of an unwritten law, “We should not force someone to drink, but once forced one should not refuse it” (Vietnamese saying: Ruou bat kha ep, ep bat kha tu). That’s why the number of students ever drinking goes up ceaselessly. According to the data, in a total of 64 students with the age from 19 to 25 years old, 85.9% (n= 55/64) of respondents who reported ever drinking alcohol is slightly bigger than 78.5%, result of study by Tien, L.M. & Yen, N.T.H. (2007).
Besides, another factor which has a considerable effect on this increase in students’ drinking rate is to express themselves. For young men, drinking alcohol is related to gathering together in cafes and small beer restaurants. It is a way to express the mature of men, not a boys. Drinking for young women more often takes place in mixed gender groups or alone with their boyfriend. For these young women, drinking is a rejection of the Vietnamese traditional social norms, which views alcohol consumption is not for only men right, but women. This reflects in part of changing role of woman in the Vietnam.
Table 1 : Alcohol consumption (ever) and frequency of alcohol drinking in past 6 months by gender
Subjects Male
(n = 43) Female
(n = 21) Total
(n = 64)
Ever drink alcohol [N(%)] 39 (90.7) 16(76.2) 55 (85.9)
Alcohol frequency Not in past 6 months [N(%)] 3(6.9) 12(57.1) 15(23.4)
Less than or once - twice a month [N(%)] 30(69.8) 9(42.9) 39(60.9)
Every week or more often [N(%)] 10(23.3) 0(0) 10(15.6)
As be seen in Table 1, a slightly greater proportion of males(90.7%) ever drank alcohol as compared to females(76.2%). However, males reported drinking with more frequency than females, in the past. Of those, up to 69.8% of males had alcohol consumption frequently as less than or once – twice a month while that proportion of females is 42.9%. The gap of gender of drinking every week or more often 23.3% for males and 0% for females in the past 6 months before the survey. This disparity means that social prejudices about female dignity, today, still have great influence on Vietnamese females although it is much more loosened than the past. Furthermore, many researchers corroborated this result. On average, Johnston et al., (1998) stated that men consume alcohol in larger quantities than do women [as cited in Benton, Stephen L., Benton, Sherry A., Downey, Ronald G. (2006)], although female drinking rates may be increasing (Wechsler and Kou, 2000).

  1. Relation between alcohol use and sexual behaviors
    The next factor to note is a strong association between alcohol abuse and sexual behaviors. Eight in 14 men who had sexual intercourse also reported drinking. In addition, nearly 50%(31 men and women) engaging in sex while and after drinking alcohol. Alcohol, which has been very well supported in the literature as having a significant effect on sexual behaviors but it is of note that in this study, alcohol was shown to have the strongest effect on exactly this, non-intercourse sexual contact (thought of sex).
    Table 2: Situation and solution

Situation Solutions
What will you do in this situation?
You have boyfriend (or girlfriend). You and he (or she) love each other so much. One day, you and he (or she) are both drunk after a party. He or she has intention to have sexual relationship with you (both of you are students) Don’t agree : 21 ( 32.8% ) Don’t know: 5 ( 7.8 % ) Depend on situation and mood : 13
( 20.3% ) Agree to have sex : 25
( 39.1%)

The table 2 shows one situation in the questionnaire were created to take more information about their solutions among which many students tend to be willing to have sex if they are suggested by their boyfriends or girlfriends(see Table 2). After classifying all the answer, they were divided into 4 main types: “don’t agree”, “don’t know”, “depend on situation and mood”, “Agree to have sex” . It was assumed that 59.4% (all are men) have probability or agree to have sex, especially up to 39.1% agree without hesitation. Because there is one thing is certain that the consequences of alcoholic drinking vary for men and for women. These consequences are related to social, medical, and economic terms. Thus, Korch et al. (as cited in Theresia, L., 2003) who have looked for a gender difference have observed as much stronger relationship for males than for females between drinking and amount of sexual partner. Byrnes et al (as cited in Benton, S.L., 2006) also found that men tended to take risks even when it is clear that such action could lead to negative consequences.

  1. Attitudes towards and perception of alcohol use and sexual behaviors
    Table 3:
    Male
    (n = 43)
    Female
    (n = 21)
    Behaviors Percent “yes”
    Thought of sex while and after drinking alcohol 48.8
    47.6
    Had intercourse 32.6
    0
    Having sex after drinking alcohol 18.6
    0
    Attitude Percent strongly agree/ agree
    Sex will be better when you drink alcohol 48.8
    9.5
    You cannot control yourself when you drink alcohol 25.6
    23.8
    Drinking alcohol helps me express myself 25.6
    0
    Having sex after drinking alcohol is more likely to get STDs 58.1
    42.9
    The parties or meetings will lose fun if there is not alcohol. 72.1
    19
    Man can drink alcohol. And women can either. 67.4
    90.5
    You really become mature man or woman only when you could drink alcohol and had sexual intercourse 23.3
    4.8

Besides, the university students’ attitudes as well as perception of factor has a considerable effect on this increase in students’ drinking rate and different in genders. For young men, they have a positive view about relation between alcohol use and sexual behaviors. The percent of male students favored in the following statements: ‘sex will be better when you drink alcohols’ is 48.8; ‘drinking alcohol helps me express myself’ is 25.6; ‘a you really become mature man or woman only when you could drink alcohol and had sexual intercourse’ is 23.3. All these males’ numbers always are higher than females’. In addition, students more often agreed, ‘Man can drink alcohol. And women can either’. This means alcohol drinking is not only for males anymore, but females. It is notable that up to 90.5% of females support it.
However, about half of students are confused in perception of alcohol effects on the sexual intercourse that ‘Having sex after drinking alcohol is more likely to get STDs’. Nearly 48.8% of young men and only 9.2% young women agree or even strongly agree with the statement: ‘Sex will be better when you drink alcohol’. The gap from wrong perception to high-risk sexual behaviors is very small. Moreover, in his summary, James W. Smith’s research (n.d.) stated that
it appears that increasing amount of alcohol progressively interfere with the sexual functioning of both men and women, alcoholics and nonalcoholics alike. Alcoholic men and women risk extensive and failure as a result of their prolonged heavy use of alcohol.(p.163)
Chart 4:

As mentioned, that is wrong understandings, the chart 4, above, indicates that a larger proportion,46% (almost all of participants are males), feel ‘alright’ after drinking alcohol as compared to ‘ worried’ ‘regretful’, and ‘ guilty’ (almost of respondents are females).This attitude of many students, especially males, shows the youth’s initial acceptance of pre-marriage. Nevertheless, sexual relations in these circumstances are not ‘planned’, and are more likely to be risky, and include unprotected sex (Kaljee, L.M., 2005). As a result, engagement in risky sexual behaviors with alcohol consumption has the potential for long–term heath problems including prevalence of abortion, and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
IV. Solutions to the alcohol abuse and related risk – sexual behaviors
Based on the result of surveys, alcohol abuse has been linked to high-risk sexual behaviors. In addition, although students seem to be aware of the relation between alcohol abuse and sexual behaviors, actually they do not understand its nature. This problem really need more concerns from families, universities and society. Therefore, this part discusses some suggestions with hopes that it can become useful solutions. As a matter of fact, accurate information with regard to the association between alcohol use/or abuse with sexual behaviors is still limited in Vietnam. Educational programs must include a realistic context in which to present alcohol-drinking behaviors and they must address the multiple health risk behaviors that accompany alcohol consumption [Giesbrecht (1999) as cited in (Kaljee, L.M., (2005)]. On the other hand, the research strongly supports the use of comprehensive, integrated programs with multiple complementary components that target: (1) individuals, including at-risk or alcohol-dependent drinkers, (2) the student population as a whole, and (3) the college and the surrounding community (Hingson and Howland (2002); DeJong et al., (1998); Institute of Medicine, (1989) as cited in “A Call,” 2002].
V. Conclusion:
In conclusion, this study needs to be studied further factors affecting the relation between alcohol abuse and sexual behaviors in order to have better solutions and evaluate differences in genders in each point. Moreover, it is necessary to have measures for States to decrease in the alcohol consumption together with related risk, sexual behaviors.

References
Benton, Stephen L., Sherry A. , Downey, Ronald G. (2006). College student drinking, attitudes toward risks, and drinking consequences *. Retrieved April 30, 2008, from accessmylibrary.com/coms2/su … 855156_ITM
Gioi tre và nạn ruou che. (2008). ABC Radio Australia. Retrieved May 8, 2008, from radioaustralia.net.au/bayvut … 203636.htm
Kaljee, L.M.; Genberg, B.L., Minh, T.T., Tho, L.H., Thoa, L.T.K, Stanton, B., (2004). Alcohol use and HIV risk behaviors among rural adolescents in Khanh Hoa Province Viet Nam. In Kaljee, L.M. (Ed), Health Education Research, Oxford Journals, 20, (pp. 71-80). Retrieved May 13, 2008, from her.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/20/1/71
Tien, L.M & Yen N.T.H. (2007). Sinh vien va ruou bia. Tuoi tre online. Retrieved May 8, 2008, from tuoitre.com.vn/Tianyon/Index … nnelID=119
U.S Department of Health and Human Services. (2002) . A call to action: changing the culture of drinking at U.S college (NIH Publication No.02-5010) . Maryland : U.S.

Appendix A
Questionnaire
University students’ attitude towards relation between alcohol consumption and sexual behaviors
This study is being conducted to find out university students’ attitude towards relation between alcohol consumption and sexual behaviors. Could you please spare your time and answer the following questions by ticking √ the best answers that suit you. For questions require your opinions specially, please answer in the spaces provided. Your individual questionnaires are entirely anonymous and answer questions as honestly as you can. Thank you very much!
I. Personal information:

  • You are: ○ Male ○ Female

  • Your age: ……………
    II. Questions:

  1. Have you ever drunk alcohol?
    ○Yes ○ No

  2. How old were you when you first drank alcohol?

  3. How old were you when you first got drunk?

  4. How often do you drink in past 6 months ?
    ○ Not
    ○ Less than or once or twice a month
    ○ Every week or more often

  5. Who do you usually drink with?
    ○ No one. I drink alone
    ○ Only male friends
    ○ Only female friends
    ○ Both male and female friends

  6. Where do you usually drink alcohol?
    ○ In restaurants
    ○ In my friends’ house or my house
    ○ In other places. They are …

  7. Have you ever thought of sex while and after drinking alcohol?
    ○ Yes
    ○ No

  8. Do you have sexual intercourse?
    ○ Yes
    ○ No
    ► If you answer “ yes” for question 10, please continue answering 11th and 12th question or else, please move on to answer 13th question

  9. Do you use any methods of STI protection such as : condoms, etc.
    ○ Yes
    ○ No

  10. Did you drink alcohol before having sex?
    ○ Yes
    ○ No

  11. If you have sexual intercourse after drinking alcohol or drunkenness, you will feel…
    ○ Alright
    ○ Worried
    ○ Regretful
    ○ Guilty

  12. Do you know any friends which had sex after drinking alcohol?
    ○ Yes
    ○ No

  13. Please tick one answer which is suitable to you most.

Strongly agree Agree Don’t know Disagree Strongly disagree
Sex will be better when you drink alcohol
You cannot control yourself when you drink alcohol
Drinking alcohol helps me express myself
If my friends invite me to go out for drinking alcohol, I will agree
The couple will more likely to have sex when they drink and drink heavily.
I drink alcohol because I want to prove that I am a man but a boy
The parties or meetings will lose fun if there is not alcohol.
Drinking alcohol is to relieve sorrow
Man can drink alcohol. And women can either.
You really become mature man or woman only when you could drink alcohol and had sexual intercourse

  1. What will you do when your friends insist on inviting you to drink alcohol despite your refusal?

  2. What will you do in this situation?
    You have boyfriend (or girlfriend). You and he (or she) love each other so much. One day, you and he (or she) are both drunk after a party. He or she has intention to have sexual relationship with you (both of you are students).

Thank you for your co-operation!

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