Respect for the Law, . and Fitting In:. Were the Prophets of Prohibition Right?. Hope Dischar & Perilou Goddard. Department of Psychological Science. Northern Kentucky University. Prohibition (1920-33) challenged our notion of ourselves as law-abiding citizens. ID: 271206
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Underage Drinking, Respect for the Law, and Fitting In:Were the Prophets of Prohibition Right?
Hope Dischar & Perilou Goddard
Department of Psychological Science
Northern Kentucky UniversitySlide2
Prohibition (1920-33) challenged our notion of ourselves as law-abiding citizensWidespread disregard for the laws of Prohibition were thought to undermine respect for all lawSlide3
More Prohibition falloutLaw breaking went from marginalized to mainstream behaviorSlide4
Parallels of Prohibition Today
Underage drinkingNearly 10 million underage drinkers in 2010 (SAMHSA, 2010) Marijuana useNearly 17.4 million past-month marijuana users in 2010 (SAMHSA, 2010)Slide5
Underage drinking and marijuana use would be associated with less respect for the lawgreater sense of “fitting in” with mainstream societySlide6
Participants and Procedure
18 to 20
105 females, 57 males
10% were African-American, 3% were Hispanic, and 79% were White
Participants completed all measures anonymously in 50-minute live sessions (not online)
Consent form, questionnaires assessing each of the relevant variables, and debriefingSlide7
Measuring Alcohol and Marijuana Use
We created indices based on self-reported frequency of use
1: Have never used
2: Have not used in past year
3: Have used in past year but not in past month
4: Have used on fewer than 10 days in past month
5: Have used on 10 days or more in past monthSlide8
Measuring Respect for the Law
Respect for the Law Scale developed for this study to tap beliefs about the legitimacy of the law
16 statements rated on 7-point Likert scales
Laws in the U.S. are best described as “of the people, by the people.”
We have the ability to change the laws we don’t agree with by voting for officials who will represent our views.
We are obligated to obey the laws because we help make the laws.
Moderate internal consistency (
Measuring the Sense of “Fitting In”
Scale developed by Cozzarelli & Karafa (1998) to measure the similarities between individuals’ personal beliefs/values and their perception of American beliefs/values
9 statements rated on 7-point Likert scales
I strongly identify with American values.
I feel that many of my values are more or less universal.
Moderate internal consistency (
Alcohol UseNational vs. NKU Data
NSDUH data (2010) were calculated for persons aged 18 to 25NKU data included ONLY 18- to 20-year olds
Alcohol Lifetime Prevalence
Marijuana UseNational vs. NKU Data
It’s pretty clear that lots of NKU students like their cannabis!
Marijuana Lifetime Prevalence
Marijuana 12- month
Hypothesis 1: More frequent underage drinking and marijuana use will be associated with less respect for the law
Correlation with Respect for Law Scalep valueUnderage Drinking Index-.14.069Marijuana Use Index-.20.010
he hypothesis was partially supported:
Marijuana use was significantly associated with less respect for the law, but underage drinking was not (at least not quite).
Hypothesis 2: More frequent underage drinking and marijuana use will be associated with a greater sense of “fitting in”
Correlation with “Fitting In” Scalep valueUnderage Drinking Index.31<.001Marijuana Use Index.06.429
Again, our hypothesis was partially supported:
More frequent underage drinking was significantly associated with greater feelings of “fitting in,” but marijuana use was not.
he prophets of Prohibition were partially right
Students who regularly violated the prohibition against marijuana showed significantly less respect for the law
However, frequent underage drinkers did not
Perhaps drinking by underage college students is so normative that they don’t even think of it as breaking the lawSlide15
Our data about fitting in are consistent with this explanation
The more frequently underage students drank, the more they felt they fit in with mainstream America
There is strong evidence that minimum legal drinking age laws have some benefits
.g., reduced motor vehicle deaths
However, these laws clearly do not serve as effective deterrents to drinking for many young people
Perhaps it’s time to think more creatively about policies to reduce drinking-related harms without focusing so much on the legality