What is the difference between Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian undergraduate students’ alcohol use, and alcohol-related harms at one regional Australian university?

Malouf, Peter James (2017) What is the difference between Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian undergraduate students’ alcohol use, and alcohol-related harms at one regional Australian university? PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

Background

Young people in Australia are more likely to consume alcohol at harmful levels on a single occasion, therefore, increasing their risk of alcohol-related harm. The research will focus on identifying patterns of drinking among Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian university students with associated factors, and potential consequent harms.

The study will also identify other factors that may influence at-risk drinking among Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian university students, and the association between at-risk drinking and consequent harms. Additional components will involve focus groups comprising Indigenous university students to elucidate further factors that may influence alcohol use and the experience of consequent harms.

Aims

This thesis aims:

1. To determine patterns and associated harms among university and college students across Australia, New Zealand, and North America (chapter 3).

2. To determine Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian student drinking patterns, including the frequency of drinking, the quantity of drinking, and the choices of alcohol consumed (chapter 4).

a. To determine the frequency of alcohol-related harms experienced by Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students who drink.

b. To determine any differences and similarities in the association between hazardous drinking and academic performance, depressive symptoms and satisfaction with their health among Indigenous Australians and non- Indigenous Australian students.

3. To identify the experience of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms among Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students (chapter 5).

a. To identify Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students' understanding of student drinking culture.

b. To determine Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students' attitudes towards harmful drinking behaviour.

c. To identify the influencing factors from Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students that may support students' drinking behaviour.

4. To compare and contrast any differences and similarities between Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students' experiences of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms, more generally (chapter 6).

5. To provide limitations and recommendations for future research and practice regarding interventions to reduce risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm among Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students (chapter 7).

Methods Aim 1 is addressed through a systematic review of published and grey literature. Aims 2 and 3 are addressed through a series of studies undertaken within a regional university with university students in North Queensland, Australia. These studies involved: a cross-sectional survey of 175 Indigenous Australian and 696 non-Indigenous Australian students (Aim 2); a cross-sectional survey of 871 university students aged 17-24 (Aim 3); a purposive sampling of three yarning groups (two Indigenous Australians and one non-Indigenous Australian) with a total of 18 student participants. Aim 4 is addressed through data integration by comparing both quantitative and qualitative datasets.

Key findings

• The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) scores ranged from 0 to 33 for both Indigenous Australian students, mean = 9.4, SD ± 6.0, [ t (94) = 15.08, p < 0.000] and non-Indigenous Australian students, mean = 8.7, SD ± 5.7, [ t (725) = 41.50, p < 0.000] (Chapter 4).

• The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test – Consumption (AUDIT-C) score was summed using the first three questions of the AUDIT tool, ranged from 0 to 12 for both, Indigenous Australian students, mean = 6.3, SD ± 3.1, [ t (94) = 19.45, p < 0.000] and non-Indigenous Australian students, mean = 6.0, SD ± 2.8 [ t (725) = 57.19, p < 0.000] (chapter 4).

• The model indicated among Indigenous Australian hazardous drinkers, no significant relations were found. Non-Indigenous Australian students who were hazardous drinkers were 1.74 times (p=0.002) dissatisfied with their academic performance and 7.16 times (p=0.001) more likely to experience alcohol-related risk behaviour (chapter 4)

• Indigenous Australians emphasised that drinking was integrated into university life, whereas the non-Indigenous Australians commented that university years were seen to be a time of independence to drink without serious consequences (chapter 5).

• The academic performance influencing social drinking for those who drank contributed to heavy drinking among Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students who tended to consume alcohol above the standard recommended serving per single occasion. This led to associated consequences that were both positive and negative (chapter 5).

• This mixed methods study of Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students' alcohol use expanded on previous quantitative and qualitative methods by having a broader focus on Indigenous Australian students at the university and by showing how Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australians' alcohol use is shaped during their time at university (chapter 6).

• Drinking trends were predominantly among male students. Explicitly focusing on hazardous drinking and consequences of drinking were identified. Overall, the state of hazardous drinking among students with no difference among Indigenous Australians remains a significant concern (chapter 6).

Conclusion and discussion

The findings of this thesis support the findings of recent mixed methods studies and provide the first mixed methods study showing differences in Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian student alcohol use and alcohol-related harms. Hazardous drinking occurs predominately among Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian men, but generally among non-Indigenous Australians who experience alcohol-related risk behaviour and dissatisfaction with academic performance. If we are to improve the drinking rates among undergraduate students, universities need to consider developing a range of strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm. For example, potential supply reduction strategies could include restricting access to the supply of alcohol on campus, the level of harm associated with alcohol use may be reduced when safe environments on campus are promoted, and demand reduction strategies can be used to improve awareness of the consequences of hazardous drinking. The thesis provides insight into the differences between Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students regarding the culture of alcohol use at university, which may assist universities to develop prevention and education strategies to address this problem in the future.

Item ID: 54832
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: academic performance, alcohol consumption, alcohol use, binge drinking, college students, Indigenous Australians, non-Indigenous Australians, university students
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 02:35
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 70%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169902 Studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Society @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920414 Substance Abuse @ 50%
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