DEPRESSION AND ALCOHOL USE AMONG COLLEGE WOMEN AGED BETWEEN 18 -25 YEARS
AGED BETWEEN 18 -25 YEARS
DEPRESSIONAND ALCOHOL USE AMONG COLLEGE WOMEN AGED BETWEEN 18 -25 YEARS
DEPRESSIONAND ALCOHOL USE AMONG COLLEGE WOMEN AGED BETWEEN 18 -25 YEARS
Statementof the problem
Whilecollege has been considered one of the places where one can gothrough positive experiences in their life, studies have shown thatcolleges are also the breeding grounds for depression, alcoholconsumption, and other mental issues (Murphy et. al., 2006). After ayoung person leaves home, college becomes one of the places wherethey get to experience freedom and independence for the first time,and while this is mainly positive for most student: for others, thetransition becomes challenging. A major issue that presents seriousnegative issues for students is depression, whereby the student findshim/herself having anxious feelings that interfere with theirday-to-day activities. This study, in essence, aims to explore theprominence of depression among college women aged between 18-25 yearsof age, especially in relation to their patterns of alcoholconsumption as a means of coping.
Thisstudy is most relevant to counselling as a field, as it provides aframework through which depression can be studied, especially amongcollege students. This study is important, as the research would helppolicy makers and student counsellors in the formulation of policiesand strategies of addressing depression, and the means of coping,especially where alcohol is concerned. Ultimately, the study plans toexplore a dominant issue that has potentially severe consequences onwomen student populations.
Thisstudy hypothesizes that in general, men would drink more than womenwould, but when faced with episodes of stress and depression, womenare more likely to drink more. Another hypothesis was that collegewomen, in the identified demographic, were more depressed than men onall instances. It was also hypothesized that college women haveepisodes when they consume alcohol in larger quantities than inothers. Additionally, the study hypothesized that drinking is apopular way of coping among female students at the campus. Finally,another hypothesis was that drinkers would be more open to reporttheir trends or behaviors of depression.
Someof the major questions that will be addressed in this study willinclude:
What are the rates of depression among college students?
What is the role of alcohol as a means of coping with depression among women?
What are the patterns of alcohol consumption among women in college?
What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and depression?
Whilethere are many studies on alcohol consumption and depression, thisstudy focuses on college going women, especially those aged between18-25 years old. Through this narrowed focus, the study aims to shedmore light on this unique demographic and the significant issuesfacing them such as depressive symptoms that lead to alcohol abuseand vice versa.
Section2: Literature Review
Depressionas a condition has been found to affect an individual’s health, asituation that contributes to the development of health-changingbehavior (ACHA, 2009). The new change that is developed by anindividual consequently leads to the development of risky healthbehavior such as the consumption of drugs such as alcohol, which areperceived to be influential in the alleviation of stress (Hasin etal., 2005). A study by Dressien et al., (2001) found that alcoholicshad higher chances of experiencing anxiety, a major symptom ofdepression. However, while the statistics are shared between bothgenders, studies point out that for women, alcohol bingeing wasmajorly preceded by stress.
Ina study by Hussong (2007), the author finds that women were morelikely to drink after periods of elevated stress as a copingmechanism: a pattern that was missing among men of the same age. Thestatistic points to the trend that for women, the chances of alcoholuse as a means of self-medication were higher compared to men. Thisfinding is further mirrored by (Hasin et al., 2005), who argue thatin the aim of stress copying for the aims of maintaining socialwell-being, women tended to alter the stress, especially when it wasemotional.In most instances, the choice path of altering stress is throughalcohol use, which is more accessible and less risky that other drugssuch as opium and marijuana.
Whilemost of these studies point to the dominant relationship betweenalcohol and depression among women, other studies show that otherfactors also create depression. For instance, according to Krahn etal., (2005), among women, patterns of food dieting and bingeing weremore closely related to the intensity and frequency of alcohol userather than depression and parent drinking habits. The study showedthat while alcohol use leads to depression, other factors such asdieting similarly play a significant role.
Section3: Evaluation Methodology
Toexplore the correlation of alcohol with other factors such as alcoholuse among college students aged between 18-25 years effectively, thestudy employed the qualitative research design. The study drew itsmethodology from other studies that have explored the prevalence ofdepressive symptoms and alcohol consumption patterns among collegewomen. The study thus relied more on the symptoms of depression andresultant use of alcohol as provided by the study’s participants.Accordingly, since exploring an issue such as depression is a socialstudy, the researchers relied on the direct feedback of theparticipants. Through this process, the study ensured that itanalyzed and explored the phenomena through a process that cateredfor participant perceptions/views. The study began by employing theuse of the National Institute of Alcohol Abused and Alcoholism(NIAAA) that advised the formulation and scope of questions thatwould be applied in the study (NIH 2017 Hingson, 2010). The dominanttool that was applied in this study was an online surveyquestionnaire, which was preferred to a direct/face-face interview,which would create issues of privacy. Furthermore, the researchersrecognized that through the online questionnaires, direct feedbackwould be presented to the researchers.
Section4: Description of Program
Theparticipants for the study, 40 female students, aged 18-25 years,were selected from the campus. The study selected the group based ontheir willingness to participate in the study, their proximity andresidence to the campus, and the viability (fitness to age) that thestudy required. Among the participants, at least fifty percent (50%)were Caucasian, twenty percent (20%) African American, ten percent(10%) Hispanic and the rest, twenty percent (20%) were Asians andothers. The study found that the identified sample was representativeof the entire female population on the campus as a whole. Theselection reflected the general statistics at the campus, a statisticthat was ascertained through the registrar’s office.
Throughthe online survey questionnaire, the participants were required tostate their current ages and ethnicity. Furthermore, throughdeveloped questions on depression and alcohol use, the study gavestudents options to select answers that directly captured theirsituations. Some of the questions included:
In the past 12 months, how often did you take an alcoholic drink? (Options from above six to two times on the lower extreme).
How many times did you drink alcohol due to anxiety and stress (depression) Options from above six to two times on the lower extreme).
Are you a “light and non-problematic”, “moderate and non-problematic”, or a “heavy and non-problem drinker”?
Thesequestions, among others, enabled the researchers to cater for variousclasses of respondents from those who stated that they had nevertaken alcohol and never been depressed to the extreme opposite.Generally, the study recognized that those who experienced anxiety atone point in college life were depressed while those that tookalcohol socially were taken to be drinkers.
Asmentioned in the precious section (four) the study employed the useof the survey research design that enabled the researchers toevaluate the social phenomenon effectively. In the study, theparticipants were randomly selected through a sampling of the studentstatistics through the registrar’s office, where all the records ofenrolled students staying at the campus are kept. In reaching out tothe potential participants, the study sent out open emails thatinvited the participants to an online confidential survey. The onlinesurvey was preferred for this study since the researchers aimed toensure that the study remained confidential and did not infringe onthe privacy of students especially since symptoms of depression are asensitive and personal matter.
Toreach a huge pool of respondents effectively, the invitation includeda description of the study as well as the promise to be confidential.From the hundred invitations sent out, fifty participants (50%)responded and at least forty (40%), completed the online survey. Therest of the invited participants, 10%, either actively declined toparticipate or chose to be non-responders. These findings weresimilar to other studies in the filed which showed comparableresponse patterns. The questions asked the participants theiropinions about their use and patterns of alcohol consumption,instances of depression and the means of coping with depressionthrough alcohol. Despite the fact that the study offered noincentives to the participants, it assured them that they werehelping to support other students in a research project. Anotherpromise made to the participants was that the findings from the studywould help facilitate the introduction of policies and strategies bythe college administration that would help students faced withstress, anxiety, and other depression symptoms. All the responses andquestions were further passed through the counselling and psychologydepartment for resources and further assistance.
Someof the measures that will be used to evaluate the program include andevaluation of the drinking patterns as well as the symptoms andcauses of depression. Some of the outcomes that were expected by thestudy can be classified into two categories, alcohol use patterns, aswell as depression, and its symptoms. The study expects that at least80% of the respondents would affirm that they are drinkers at least40% have tendencies of drinking on several times during a week. Thestudy further hopes for the outcome that older college women dranklesser than their younger counterparts who are more inclined to bingedrinking and experimentation as this view is supported in variousliterature (Weitzman & Chen, 2005). In terms of depression, thestudy expects the outcome that some of the most dominant causes ofdepression would include diet concerns, weight issues, fatigue, sleepdeprivation, and self-esteem. These factors, separately orcollectively, will be found to contribute to the emergence ofdepression among various college women (Pritchard et al., 2007). Thestudy expects that the outcomes would reveal that among the youngerstudents, 18 years compared to 25 years, levels of depression andcoping through alcohol would be higher.
Theresearchers set out to explore the correlation between depression andalcohol use among female students on campus. The focus of the studywas advised by the need to discover the intimate reality on whetherthere was a correlation between alcohol consumption and depressionamong women aged 18-25 years old. The study specifically focused on aselected pool of students identified through an online questionnaireprogram that run for at least five minutes, through whichparticipants could comment and fill in results to the best of theirabilities. Through an analysis of the entire pool of participantsthat filled the questionnaires with the help of the counsellingdepartment, the researchers attempted to find the most representativesample for the study. Thus, through a serious of questions posed by aquestionnaire that was sent through online means and a surveyprocedure online, the study identified the most intimate data ondepression and alcohol use.
Someof the ethical issues involved in this study included privacy,consent and the future application of the findings. Privacy concernsarose because the respondents were sourced from the registrar’soffice and that the results of the survey were exposed to variousparties other than the researchers. Through cooperation with thecounselling department, the privacies of some respondents were placedat risk as the data might have been used to flag special and riskycases. Consent was also an issue since while the study required theparticipant to fill in the study questions it also overlooked theirpermission on publication: a reality that is inevitable for thestudy. In most instances, the respondents might be opposed to thepublication of information that they gave in confidence.
Theresearch process was extremely engaging and challenging as while thegroup was inspired by the possibilities of exploring a socialphenomenon, the procedures and tasks involved were daunting. Indeciding the topic, the researchers evaluated various topics thatwould be most fit for the campus population. Furthermore, whilevarious topics fit the campus target population, the study furtherneeded to contribute to scientific knowledge on a significant socialissue. The final topic was a result of extensive deliberations andcollaborations by members of the group. Through an exploration ofavailable literature on the topic, various outcomes measures to thestudy were expected and evaluated. For instance, through literatureon depression and alcohol use, the research was advised that thetopic was worth researching as there are various findings on thetopic. The outcomes and how they would be measured were alsoidentified through literature that showed more female students arelikely to be drinkers rather than drinkers, as well as youngerstudents were more likely to suffer depression and binge drinking.
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