Sociological Survey: Teen Drug Use Essay

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In seeking to accumulate information on a pertinent sociological issue, such as one concerning health behaviors, it is often most beneficial to gather this data directly from the source where possible. Thus, in identifying a health problem and social pattern such as drug abuse, one might construct a primary data-gathering method based on the design and distribution of a survey.

If offered in the properly neutral and consistent format, the survey should elicit something from its selected sample group resembling an indication of drug abuse patterns and behaviors therein. One could use a Likert Survey Scale to determine frequency of use of certain substances as a gauge of abuse patterns, allowing from a quantitative measurement after all data has been gathered. This primary research approach may also serve the purposes of the literature review by helping researchers to identify specific patterns of behavior which might direct their focus.

For example, if primary research demonstrates a direct correlation between the use of so-called gateway drugs as tobacco, alcohol and marijuana and the use of so-called hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin, this correlation may help to point the research process in the direction of studies which either confirm or disconfirm this exact claim. The survey and literature review may essentially be used as a means to cross-checking one another.

Such research problems beyond the selected example which might be appropriate for survey research designs are those concerning health beliefs, those relating to personal opinions, those attempting to gather information on demographic patterns or virtually any examination which is preoccupied with deriving its findings based on the perceptions of its subjects. In consideration of the subject of drug abuse, it is necessary to first choose a suitable test population and, subsequently, to isolate sample groups from that population. These groups will be the experimental and control group, though which the dependent variable can be tested.

In this case, we might suggest that teenagers from selected locales within reasonable proximity of the research project would be an appropriate test population. Researchers can justify the selection of teenagers for consideration of a study which relates to drug abuse due to the pressing sociological need to identify ways of contending with adolescent abuse and addiction. Indeed, in a majority of cases where substance abuse has coalesced into outright addiction and its consequent destructive behaviors, there is evidence that patterns for abuse are likely to have begun during the individual’s adolescent and teen years.

Current research from a wide range of peer-reviewed scholastic journals gives cause to believe that lifelong habits relating to substance abuse may be formed during adolescence. This justifies research concerning the catalysts to the formation of such negative habits among teenagers. An investigation of the factors contributing to substance abuse among teenagers suggests that, while there are some characteristics which heighten one’s susceptibility to drug experimentation or habitual use, teenage substance abuse is a shared social problem for America.

The study here would, if carried out, seek to employ relevant literature and survey gathered date in order to make the case that there is a reciprocal relationship between a number of factors—both extrinsic and intrinsic—and drug abuse, impacting the environmental surroundings, relational influences and personal dispositions of vulnerable teens. In the case of this proposal, it is appropriate to seek only to identify a bivariate relationship between drug addiction and some other sociological quality in order to hone the discussion’s overall focus.

Negative settings such as inner-city schools and urban neighborhoods, where drug trade and abuse are rampant, increase individual exposure to substance abuse, whether it be through family or friends. To address this reality, we must be prepared to understand a number of factors that are directly relevant to the development or retention of drug habits, including the factors of exposure to abuse and other negative behavior patters in early youth, the social aspects contributing to drug abuse and the cultural characteristics which often underscore and encourage such abuse.

At the basis of our discussion will be the essential notion that there are three general contexts in which adolescent tendencies toward drug abuse and chemical dependency may best be examined; the nature of the child’s parentage, the habituations of his chosen peer group and the development of individual qualities inclining him toward drug abuse. (Fang, 85) In this last quality, it may be argued that the context in which a subjected individual lives will have a significant impact on said characteristics.

The result may be the deduction that settings where drug abuse is more common will increase the likelihood that young individuals will be themselves inclined toward abuse. Therefore, as we approach the task of creating the survey questions that will drive both the literature review process and this analytical discussion, it is first sensible to explore some concrete correlations which will help us to select an appropriate independent and dependent variable.

At this juncture, we may already say that the dependent variable is drug abuse, which is the outcome which will or will not be present in subject according to the outcome of this investigation. If it can be said that our hypothesis is currently inclined toward the argument that drug abuse is caused in teenagers by some sociological factor, that factor will be the independent variable. It is so-named because its degree, quality or categorization will exist separate from the framing of the study.

However, depending on the outcome concerning the hypothesis here, it may or may not be said that this independent variable is something upon which the dependent variable of drug abuse will in some manner depend. In order to identify a useful independent variable, it is appropriate to consider something which, as a product of our discussion to this juncture, might be identified as a likely leading cause of drug abuse.

Namely, we know that there are defined catalysts in the social experience of the individual that will play a substantial role in promoting the decision to experiment with drugs, to use drugs recreationally, to develop habit forming relationship with drugs and ultimately to fall into the void of addiction. One which is particularly recurrent in all manner of research on the topic of substance abuse is a presence of such in a youth or teenager’s family.

Much of the research which revolves on the topic of establishing causality patterns of chemical abuse argues that when children are born into families where one or both of the parents are habitual drug users or are chemically dependent, said children are immediately immersed into an environment where the risk of developing future substance abuse problems is significantly elevated. This presents us with a pattern that is inherently cyclical, with the passage of negative abuse patterns between generations creating a sustained pattern of destructive behavior.

The result of this pattern may be a self-perpetuating poverty, where an incapacity of one generation to transcend the negative proclivities connecting drug abuse and poverty is likely to beget the same incapacity in the next generation. This points constructively to the issue of drug abuse in parents or older siblings, which seems a sensible point of entry with respect both to the geographical and cultural matters which are related to drug abuse as well.

Therefore, here is identified the sociological circumstance of one’s familial disposition as the independent variable. Specifically, the independent variable will be whether or not one’s parents or older siblings have engaged in drug abuse, with the hypothesis therefore being that individuals whose parents or older siblings abuse drugs are likely to abuse drugs themselves as teenagers.

The following survey questions have been constructed to be administered to a test and control group, which will therefore be individuals both with and without documented drug abuse issues. Knowing the substance backgrounds of both groups and placing those with no background in the control group, the following questions are therefore focused on yielding date regarding the independent variable.

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