SOC 490 - Week 5 - Capstone Project.doc
SOC 490 - Week 5 - Capstone Project.doc PRG211
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Running head ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 1 Alcohol and Suicide An Escalating Social Dilemma Student Name SOC490 Social Science Capstone Instructor University Date ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 2 Alcohol and Suicide An Escalating Social Dilemma The link between alcohol and suicide is empirical Studies of individuals in alcohol abuse treatment programs report a commonality of past and present suicidal thoughts behavior and attempts Kessler Borges Walters 1999 People from all cultures and socioeconomic groups are affected by suicide The association with alcohol increases the risk and individuals with mental health disorders abusing alcohol increase the risk substantially The goal of this research is to investigate the association of alcohol abuse suicidal behavior and relevant quantitative and qualitative information exploring reasons for the association with emphasis on the social learning theory and differential association theory The population of middleage adults in relation to alcohol is best explained with the social learning theory and subfield of differential association This theory integrates Sutherland s differential association with the behavior learning theories of Skinner and other psychologists Cressey 1955 The link between alcohol and suicidal behavior covers various categories and factors The focus and examination will cover the environment and social forces in uencing alcohol consumption as related to suicidal behaviors These in uences vary dependent on age and involve micro and macro levels The social learning theory explains alcohol use is a form of learned behavior At the micro and macro levels learning occurs through trial and error imitation rewarding behavior and the cognitive processes Focused on how alcohol use is acquired through connections the theory stresses the in uence of primary groups Included in these groups are those with an intimacy and spontaneity bond Family and neighborhood relationships closely connected are part of the primary in uence Hanson amp Venturelli 1998 The secondary in uence is the relationships based on a paradigm Examples of this type of relationship are a group of individuals working together or a group of workers from a ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 3 corporation working in different departments The specific interaction is addressed by the social learning theory The interaction involves the learning of motives techniques and meanings attached to a particular substance and in this case alcohol Hanson amp Venturelli 1998 The social learning theory of deviant behaviors looks at the behavioral learning theories stating a person learns to communicate deviant acts through interactions With his or her social environment The deviant act in this case is drinking alcohol as well as suicide as a deviant behavior Within this social group consequences are attached to the behavior reinforcing or failing to punish the act to a much greater extent than reinforcing conforming behavior The association With the group provides definitions making the deviant behavior appear more desirable or justified Cressey 1955 Differential association encompasses the direct association and interactions With others These individuals have certain behaviors expressing norms values and attitudes supporting behaviors Indirect associations and identity With distant groups are also part of the individual s behavior The group an individual is in differential association With provides the immediate and intermediate social perspectives in Which social learning mechanisms operate The most important group is group is family and friends Jensen amp Akers 2005 The concept of the differential association is both the micro and macro systems interaction and exposure to secondary groups mass media the Internet and other virtual groups Those associations occurring earlier longer take place often and occupy one s time the most Will have a greater effect one s behavior The theory suggests the more one s patterns of differential associations are exposed to deviant behavior and attitudes the greater the risk of deviance by the individual Jensen amp Akers 2005 Recognizing alcoholism carries With it inferior skills for social interactions prior to the onset of alcoholism A study by Philips 1976 suggests the progression of alcoholism is paired ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 4 with a deterioration of social ties Each degree of estrangement increases with the alcoholism process Alcohol abuse induces aggressive and reckless behavior increasing the chance of losing personal connections In relation to the differential association theory the person socializing with a group of people where alcohol is readily available and experiences negative consequences disassociation from the group is a must Examples of consequences to from the deviant behavior involve the law domestic violence loss of employment and the deterioration of social connections among many other variables Norstrom 1995 Literature Review Alcohol abuse does not spare gender age socioeconomic or cultural groups The relationship between alcohol consumption and suicide mortality differs internationally However review of literature is overwhelming Stack 2000 reviewed 55 of 89 studies performed in 17 countries showing the greater the consumption of alcohol the greater the suicide rate Strength and association varied significantly For example France reported an increase in suicide of 26 with a one liter per capita consumption increase and 16 in Norway Regional differences were found in Europe reporting the suicide rate is more responsive to changes in the consumption of alcohol in lower consuming countries than medium or high consumption countries Brady 2006 In the United States the Centers for Disease Control Prevention CDC published reports indicate a significant amount of alcohol levels in the toxicology of suicide victims Blood alcohol measurements were performed postmortem revealing one in four victims had intoxicated over the legal limit The limits of the study include only 17 states were examined and the blood alcohol measurements taken were for 70 of suicide cases CDC nd Relevant to studies is those deaths and suicides not reported from alcohol abuse intentional or unintentional The ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 5 information cannot be considered confounded because the number of suicides related to alcohol abuse is recognized The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports 96 percent of alcoholics continued alcohol abuse up to the time of committing suicide Alcohol is a factor in approximately 30 of completed suicides An approximate figure of 7 of those with alcohol dependence will end their lives by suicide Additionally firearms account for 50 of all suicides 83 of gunrelated deaths is the direct result of suicide and firearms are used in more suicides than homicides Using firearms to commit suicide is the fastest growing method Death by firearms is the fastest growing method of suicide American Foundation 2010 The progression of alcoholism and the impact on social integration as reported in 50 consecutive alcoholic suicides in St Louis 19681971 establishes a 72 majority of the subjects had no support relationships with friends spouses and children were strained or terminated because of the subject s alcohol abuse Of the subjects 26 of the alcoholrelated suicides experienced an interpersonal loss within the last six weeks of their lives Therefore recognizing signs of alcoholism prior to its advancement and progression is crucial Supporting an individual assimilating him or her into a different social group which encourages values conducive to favorable behavior can be productive in deterring further advances leading to suicide Norstrom 1995 Research Studv Proposal The goal of this research proposal is to investigate the association of alcohol abuse suicidal behavior and relevant quantitative and qualitative information exploring reasons for the association with emphasis on the social learning theory and differential association theory The purpose is to investigate and understand how social changes and behavior occur within this group that may be a factor in suicide Population ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 6 The targeted population of this research project is middleage adults in the 3555 age range considering or having attempted suicide There are no particular demographics class or race variables specifically targeted Variables will emerge and be included and measured as data is analyzed Expected variables are unemployment divorce depression social stratification and violations of the law Sampling and Types of Data Statistical data from each state will be studied and compared States will be selected identifying the highest suicidealcohol related deaths and will be ranked accordingly The sampling population will consist of adults age 3555 with a fiveyear margin of error Data collected will comprise of attempted suicides as well as those known to have toxicology confirmed Blood Alcohol Content BAC at time of death Once the foundational research is complete data and analysis will measure the variables related to suicidal thoughts and completed suicides relative to alcohol The sampling used for the hypothesis will be purposive sampling Using this sampling there is a purpose in mind such as seeking one or more specific predefined groups Trochim amp Donnelly 2008 In this case the groups will consist of those who have considered or attempted suicide in addition to the known completed suicides related to alcohol Additionally snowball sampling would be beneficial Many individuals know of others that may have been part of the targeted population An example of this is those no longer in deviant social groups Interviewing these individuals would provide qualitative data and information in relation to the social learning and differential association theories Questions related to the individual s current social group connections support etc would prove beneficial Validity needs to be established using the psychometric approach Content validity criterionrelated validity and construct validity are necessary Content validity is required to determine the contents of the test adequately re ect the behaviors related to the concept of ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 7 alcohol as linked to suicide Criterionrelated validity provides reliability of the current measurements and addresses the predictability of future measurements Construct validity is fed by the many types of validity into the conclusion Face validity examines the perspective of the individual s understanding of the relationship of alcohol as linked to suicide If the individual does not believe a link is prevalent this can compromise the research Landrum 2012 Additionally the research will also view the validity as Cook and Campbell s 1979 conceptualization of validity the best available approximation to the truth or falsity of proposi tions including propositions about cause Cook amp Campbell 1979 p 37 In the design of this research study the goal is to determine if the link between alcohol and suicide has increased Relevant to the research is a subgoal to determine if an individual is disassociated from the current social group practicing deviant behavior and integrates into a social group practicing favorable behavior will thoughts of suicide continue to exist Landrum 2012 Once the research is complete data and analysis will measure the variables related to suicidal thoughts and completed suicides relative to alcohol The sampling used for the hypothesis will be purposive sampling Using this sampling the purpose is to seek one or more specific predefined groups Trochim amp Donnelly 2008 In this case the groups will consist of those who have considered or attempted suicide as related to alcohol A mixed methodology of quantitative and qualitative research is the methodology of inquiry Both methods will be valuable throughout the study Quantitative research will provide facts and data supporting studies on suicides in relation to alcohol and more specifically completed suicides Qualitative methods will include interviews with questions related to support networks interventions and other efforts The chosen population is based on literature review as well as the interactionist perspective of observation of social groups ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 8 Literature review and statistics on alcohol and suicide coincide with the chosen age group Individuals or groups involved in recovery can be chosen from Crisis Centers Alcoholic Anonymous meetings rehabilitation services outreach programs as well as through personal interviews and social groups indicative of favorable behavior The interactionist technique will be most useful in observing social groups in settings with alcohol to form questions for data collection from a qualitative perspective Subsequently the interactionist observation of those individuals assimilating into a social group of favorable behavior will be documented The data collected will provide variable information as related to the group The hypothesis is Individuals relieving stress or seeking refuge in social groups with alcohol are more susceptible to suicidal thoughts and actions when personal con icts arise Staffing Needs Staffing needs are minimal in relation to the initial research and data collection On the research level three or four assistants would be needed to collect and analyze the initial data relative to each state Organizing the states based on statistical data and confirming validity of the information is part of the initial research This information can be collected via the Internet and telephone calls Depending on the measured data field researchers may be required Contacting universities for researchers to perform these tasks is the process of selection Time Line of Studv A realistic timeline for completion of the proposed project is two years The object of this study is to determine if the link between alcohol and suicide has increased or decreased with the hypothesis that it has A decrease in suicide as related to alcohol would spark additional research and a further proposal will be submitted to research the values of the decrease The expected increase will confirm the hypothesis as well as the need for public awareness of the increase in the link between alcohol and suicide Population Participation ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 9 After review and approval of this research proposal by the Institutional Review Board participation in the study relative to collecting data will be strictly anonymous Participants volunteering will be briefed on the research and chosen by validity to the understanding of the research From this selection informed consent forms will be distributed and the guidelines of the American Sociological Association 1999 as well as the American Psychological Association 2010 will be strictly followed Both codes are necessary when interviewing subjects because of the nature of the study Participation in the study is expected to confirm the current findings in the literature reviewed Discussion Depending on the data collected analyzed and measured the results are expected to confirm literature review on the increase of suicide attempts and the association to alcohol is continuing The study would provide variables in relation to individual behaviors as related to a specific group Expected emerging themes may arise such as political economic and cultural factors as well as marital or family con icts loneliness and other variables associating alcohol and suicide A sociopolitical dilemma of relating alcohol to suicide would interfere with the link of depression and suicide Therefore if the link of alcohol and suicide are established causes of depression infer a causal relationship to suicide In this scenario the alcohol role played in the process of suicide may be related to the means and method of suicide and not the cause of suicide The nature of the relationship between depression and suicide is not empirical Current policies insist on manipulation of the link between mental health and suicide in order to reduce suicide rates Shahtahmasebi 2010 The relationship of alcohol as related to suicide would cause large volumes of information with little understanding of suicide as a process of decisionmaking The relevance ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 10 of this is the relationship of alcohol or drugs with the economy culture society and social perceptions of suicide This is relevant to issues of human behavior and the dynamics of decisionmaking in that the process is motivated by social economic and educational policies Shahtahmasebi 2010 The research provided in this proposal will provide evidence of the alcoholsuicide link and can be evaluated to benefit health and social policies in research and development Stressful life events SLE are a key role in suicide behaviors of adults with alcohol abuse Data is lacking on the severity of the SLE or the time period between the SLE and attempt of suicide Research confirms suicides are likely to occur on the day of a major interpersonal SLE Cases that made an attempt at suicide did not have previous planned attempts compared to other cases This suggests suicide attempts preceded by SLE s cannot be assumed as not planned This information suggests a shorter time window for suicide among adults with alcohol use disorders when interpersonal SLE s occur Conner Houston Swogger Conwell You He amp Duberstein 2012 This finding proves challenging in prevention efforts but also resourceful in the detection of alcohol use disorders in relation to association with alcohol At the heart cultural theories is the role expectations and beliefs Gender role expectancies and alcohol consumption norms may increase suicide through modeling According to recent data for the United States the male suicide rate was four times the rate of female suicides in 1993 Reasons for the high rate of male suicides include the rate of female alcohol abuse is onefifth that of males Religious involvement is significantly higher for women and provides coping measures and as well as negativity toward suicide Women have exible coping skills than men because of the many role changes during the developmental adult life course ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 11 Women are less likely to ignore signs of suicide such as depression and are more likely to seek professional help by contacting a crisis center Stack 2000 Cultural reasons such as competitiveness impulsiveness decisiveness and the perception of males as strong increases lethal suicidality Economic failure is more observable and obvious in the role of male Hence the male is more likely to feel as a failure leading to suicidal thoughts if alcohol is related Stack 2000 Add to this the availability of a firearm combined With spontaneous and risk related behaviors the possibility of suicide is high Disassociation of individuals from specific groups causing deviant behaviors is the goal of prevention measures of alcoholrelated attempted suicides Recognition of signs of deviant behavior and immediate interception and disassociation of an individual from the group is imperative Introducing other methods of socialization and relieving anxiety or stress integrating into groups reinforcing desirable behavior can benefit the individual substantially Groups such as Alcohol Anonymous serve the purpose of an alternative way to socialize Chapters are created throughout the United States and trips are planned With other members seeking an alcohol free socialization Strengthening social values and norms precluding alcohol and drugs is important to change the attitudes and beliefs of many groups in society Manufacturers spend millions advertising medicines alcohol and tobacco cures for emotional and physical pain suffering and discomfort Serban 1984 Promoting the use of these substances reinforces society s attitude that alcohol and other drug use is acceptable desirable and Will provide instant gratification Treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction is growing The commonality of suicidal thoughts and behaviors is increasing The social learning theory is not the cause of deviant behavior but addresses Why the deviant acts may occur In relation to Why some people drink ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 12 alcohol and others do not the social learning theory examines the micro and macro systems of an individual as related to alcohol consumption Behaviors beliefs attitudes and values are formed at the micro level and are also properties of groups at the macro level The differential association theory s principle is consistent in changing behavior by changing groups and can be effectively accomplished Prevention measures can be instituted through educational programs and using the social learning and differential association theory groups can be formed reinforcing positive behavior ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 13 References American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 2010 Facts and Figures Alcohol and suicide Retrieved from httpWWWafsporgindeXcfm fuseactionhomeviewpageamppageid050fea9fb0644092 b1135c3a70de1fda Cook T and Campbell D 1979 Quasiexperimentation Design amp analysis issues for eld settings Boston Houghton Mif in as cited in Landrum R E 2012 Research and writing in the social sciences San Diego CA Bridgepoint Education Inc Conner K Houston R Swogger M Conwell Y You S He H and Duberstein P 2012 Stressful life events and suicidal behavior in adults With alcohol use disorders Role of event severity timing and type Drug amp Alcohol Dependence 120 13 155161 Retrieved from EBCOHost Database Cressey D 1955 Changing criminals the application of the theory of differential association American Journal of Sociology 61 2 116120 Retrieved for J STOR database Hanson G and Venturelli P Drugs and Society Jones and Bartlett 1998 eBook Collection Retrieved from EBSCOhost database Jensen G and Akers R 2005 Empirical status of social learning theory of crime and deviance the past present and future a progress report Advances in Criminological Theory 15 Retrieved from Sage Journals Kessler R Borges G Walters E 1999 Prevalence of and risk factors for lifetime suicide attempts in the National Comorbidity Survey Arch Gen Psychiatry 56 617626 Landrum R E 2012 Research and writing in the social sciences San Diego CA Bridgepoint Education Inc Norstrom T September 1995 The impact of alcohol divorce and unemployment on suicide a multilevel analysis Social Forces 74 I 293314 Retrieved from J stor Database ALCOHOL AND SUICIDE 14 Serban G 1984 Social stress and drug abuse In G Serban Ed The social and medical aspects of drug abuse New York Spectrum Publications Inc as cited in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services ndTreatment for alcohol and drug abuse Opportunities for coordination Retrieved from httpwwwkapsamhsagovproductsmanualstaps1ld Shahtahmasebi S 2010 Sociopolitical dilemmas alcoholsubstance abuse and suicide The Good Life Research Centre Trust Rangiora New Zealand Suicidal behavior in alcohol and drug abuse and dependence Hauppauge New York Nova Science Publishers Stack S 2000 Suicide a 15year review of the sociological literature part I cultural and economic factors Suicide amp life threatening behavior 30 2 14562 Retrieved from ProQuest Database Trochim W amp Donnelly J 2008 Research methods knowledge base 3rd ed Mason OH Cengage Learning
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