This thesis explore the causes of societal attitudes toward alcoholism and alcoholics and the correlation that exists between these attitudes and how society believes that alcholics should be treated in the legal system if they commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol. This is based on the possibility that alcoholism could be a disease and therefore a condition over which the individual presumably has no control. The theories surrounding both the causes of alcoholism and the causes of attitudes toward alcoholics was explored by surveying a group of 157 high school students whose range of drinking patterns allowed for the analysis of the influence of drinking on societal attitudes. In addition, the various background and experiences of the test population allowed for the delination of various variables that can influence both knowledge and attitudes toward both alcoholism and alcoholics. Results of the study show that the extent of drinking of the individual as well as the experience that the individual has had with drinking and alcholism in his family are the greatest predictors of how the individual will view the alcoholic and the alcoholic's treatment in the legal system. Future research is suggested which would more intensively foxus on the preconceived attitudes that the individual has toward alcoholism and the affect that these attitudes could have on how the alcoholic should be treated in the legal system. In so doing, the need for educational programs about alcoholism may be evidenced so that nay future legislation on alcoholism would not be influenced by a lack of knowledge about the alcoholism in our society.


Stroup, Atlee


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150



© Copyright 1989 Gregory L. Hail