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Navy Culture Contributes to Heavy Drinking

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Series: Drugs in the Military

The young age of recruits, cycles of activity and boredom, and general attitudes about alcohol use are all parts of Navy culture that contribute to heavy drinking among sailors, according to a new study.

ScienceDaily reported June 9 that researchers drew their conclusions from survey data, interviews, and direct observations of active-duty personnel. The study focused on drinking among sailors during their first three years in the Navy. “The qualitative data provided a clearer understanding of the cultural and social contexts of risk factors, which include the easy availability of alcohol, widespread ambivalence in rule enforcement, role modeling by higher ranked personnel, use of alcohol for stress relief, and pressure from older peers to join drinking groups,” the study concluded. “These risk factors were supported by the fact that minimum legal drinking age laws did not apply in most foreign ports at the time of the study and could be easily evaded in and around most Navy bases.”

“The qualitative data, guided by survey results regarding abstainers, moderate drinkers, and drinkers who were in remission … also uncovered important individual and cultural protective factors among some respondents,” the researchers added.

The study was published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Mixed Methods Research.

See also:  Wounds of War: Drug Problems Among Iraq, Afghan Vets Could Dwarf Vietnam

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