Dr. Hugh Gusterson discusses teens and alcohol on NPR's 'Voices in the Family' (Image courtesy HumanTerrainMovie.com

On Monday, Dr. Hugh Gusterson, professor of sociology and anthropology at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, and the co-principal investigator of the Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America project joined panelists for a discussion on young adults and alcohol on WHYY-FM Philadelphia show Voices in the Family

(Audio courtesy of http://whyy.org/cms/voicesinthefamily/)

The research, funded by a grant from The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, blends the perspectives and methods of public health and cultural anthropology and seeks to complement what is already known about teens and alcohol. It focuses on understanding the cultures surrounding teens and alcohol, and, in its research design, it makes heavy use of qualitative strategies, seeking to learn directly from conversations with teens, parents, community leaders and experts.

The research incorporated the voices of many individuals from around the U.S. probing teens’ knowledge and expectations about alcohol, developing a more dynamic understating of teen drinking and the connections between teen drinking and such factors as gender, religious commitment, academic achievement, peer pressure, and public education campaigns. The goal of the research was to acquire a more holistic understanding of teen drinking as to better frame and improve strategies of intervention grounded in a better understanding of the cultural milieu in which teens drink and of the dynamics of teen drinking, so as to produce healthier behaviors among teens.