ADOLESCENTS' SEXUAL INFERENCES ABOUT GIRLS WHO CONSUME ALCOHOL

Authors


  • Amy M. Young, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan; Sean Esteban McCabe, Substance Abuse Research Center, The University of Michigan; Carol J. Boyd, Nursing and Women's Studies, The University of Michigan.

  • This study was funded in part by a grant awarded to the first author from The University of Michigan's Institute for Research on Women and Gender. We would like to thank Scott Crawford, Ellen Gordon, and Duston Pope for their help with the delivery of the Web-based survey in the school system and Amy Miller for her assistance with the editing of this document.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Amy M. Young, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan. 204 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290. E-mail: baldwin@umich.edu

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to document whether adolescents make inferences regarding male and female vignette characters in terms of the characters' sexuality, social skills, impairment, and aggressiveness when the characters consume alcohol. A Web-based survey of 1,691 middle and high school students (grades 6–11) from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds was conducted. The Dating Vignette and Subjective Perception Form (George, Gournic, & McAfee, 1988) were modified for use with an adolescent sample and embedded within the Web-based survey. There were significant interaction effects between the male and female characters' alcohol consumption in terms of the respondents' perception of the female character for all of the subscales examined (i.e., sexual disinhibition, social skills, impairment, and aggressiveness). In contrast, there were no significant interactions between the characters' drinking and the respondents' perception of the male character. Collectively, these findings suggest that adolescents' perceptions of girls are based not only on the girls' own drinking behaviors, but also their male partners' drinking behaviors.

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