.. as our dependent variable, and operationalized the independent variable of working, which asks the question, “Was respondent working or unemployed the previous week?”. Here are the results: Table IV: A Person’s Level of Employment and Whether Marijuana Should be Made Legal or Not The data supported our theory. Those who were unemployed at the time of the survey were far more likely to favor the legalization of marijuana (46.9% to 29.0%) than people who worked. While the correlation was weak, the results were very statistically significant.
Curious about whether a person’s age effected the results, we decided to control for age. The results remained the same. In each age category those who were unemployed were far more likely to favor smoking marijuana than people who worked. However, the control data was weakly correlated and not of statistical significance. Yet another theory we tested was that people with higher incomes often experience more social stratification.
They often feel that they must live up to high role expectations and statuses and therefore see drugs as a deviant measure, one that is clearly unacceptable and would make others look down upon them. We then hypothesized that people with lower family incomes are more likely to smoke marijuana. Once again, we used the measure of marijuana as the dependent variable while using family income which asks the question, “In which of these groups did your total family income, from all sources, fall last year, before taxes that is?”. Respondents could choose three different categories which were: $1,000-$19,999, $20,000-$39,999, or $40,000 and up. These are the results: Table V: Family Income and Whether a Person Believes Marijuana Should be Made Legal or Not While the results did show that as income increased the acceptance of marijuana being legalized decreased and as income increased the rate of those against the legalization of marijuana increased, the results were not statistically significant.
In fact, the correlation was extremely weak and the probability was not in our favor, meaning our hypothesis was rejected. Perhaps these results were due to the fact that as we initially stated, deviant behavior, such as drug use and alcoholism, are a way for people to gain social acceptance. When we controlled for gender the results were a little different. Lower income females still favored the legalization of marijuana over women in other income brackets, but females in the high-income bracket favored legalization more than those in the middle income bracket. Surprisingly, males in the middle income bracket were more in favor of the legalization of marijuana than any other income bracket.
They were also the least likely to oppose legalization. When we began using the States database, we were finally able to use a measure of alcohol. Due to this new measure, we were able to theorize that people who attend church experience higher levels of social integration, and because of this integration and friendships, these people do not feel as lonely and are not as tempted to drink. Many church members are highly religious and feel as though it is a sin to drink. We then hypothesized that states with higher levels of church members would have lower levels of alcohol consumption.
To test these ideas we used a measure of alcohol, gallons of alcoholic beverages consumed per person sixteen and over, as our dependent variable. We used church members, percent of population belonging to a local church, as our independent variable operationalized. Here is what we found: Scatterplot I: States’ Church Members and Gallons of Alcohol Consumed Per Person The results of the scatterplot supported our theory. States with higher percents of church members did have lower rates of alcohol consumption. The correlation was a strong negative, proving our hypothesis correct. The probability was an extremely low 0.000 making the correlation highly statistically significant. The next theory we tested with this new measure of alcohol was that divorced people lose many of their social ties, such as in-laws, spouse, relatives, and even children after a divorce. Often they are lonely and may turn to alcohol to kill the time or even as an attempt of meeting new people.
We hypothesized that states with higher percents of divorced people would have higher levels of alcohol consumption. In order to test these ideas we once again used the measure of alcohol as the dependent variable and used percent divorced, the percent of those fifteen and over who currently are divorced as the independent variable operationalized. These are the results: Scatterplot II: States’ Percent Divorced and Gallons of Alcohol Consumed Per Person The results of the scatterplot supported our theory. States with higher percents of divorced people had higher rates of alcohol consumption. The correlation was strongly positive, while the probability was extremely low, in our favor.
Also, the results were highly statistically significant. Finally, we looked at a measure of social stratification and formed a theory based on it. We theorized that poor people often do not have as many social ties as wealthier people. They often lack the money to join clubs, attend parties, and buy nice clothing. Sometimes they experience less status expectations and role strain and therefore may see drinking as a completely normal way to spend their time. We then hypothesized that states with higher percents of poor families will have higher levels of alcohol consumption.
Again the measure of drinking was the dependent variable. The independent variable was the percent of poor families, or rather the percent of families below poverty level, in each state. Here are the results: Scatterplot III: States’ Percent of Poor Families and Gallons of Alcohol Consumed Per Person The scatterplot supports the exact opposite of our theory and hypothesis. The correlation was a weak negative, while the probability was extremely low, but not in our favor. The results were statistically significant, leading us to believe that perhaps poor families are too poor to even purchase alcohol, and perhaps have found cheaper ways to spend their time.
After completing our research, we discovered that alcohol is a major problem in the United States. Many people can not admit the severity of the problem, including students, parents, and society as a whole. We came to this conclusion due to the fact that alcohol was not used as a variable or measure in hardly any databases or surveys. We wish that we could have tested all of our theories using alcohol instead of marijuana because we believe they would have resulted in higher correlations. Also, we would have liked to have been able to control all of the correlations for high school and college age students, because we feel that these particular groups of people are most harmed by the effects of alcohol consumption.
While we did discover that males are more likely to do drugs than females, marijuana smokers tend to have more sex partners, unemployed people smoke marijuana more than employed people, and poor people are more acceptable of the legalization of marijuana, we still feel that these ideas would have been more significant if alcohol was a variable. Another problem we had with the study was that we questioned who the respondents were in the surveys. We realize that older Americans are greatly against the legalization of marijuana and may not have answered questions regarding its legalization as would teenagers or people in their twenties. Older Americans often do not see alcohol as such a problem because they are over the legal drinking age and do not binge drink as often. We still believe our initial theory, that people drink in order to gain social acceptance, to be true. If there was any possible way to test this theory we would love to do so.
However, as our available databases do not allow, we will just assume that this would be the result of extensive studies. Sociology Issues.