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Deviant Behavior of College Freshmen: Overview

Introduction

Peer influence and the freedom enjoyed by college students have created a social dilemma due to the emergence of behaviors that contravene the social norm. Such behaviors, otherwise known as deviant behaviors, are defined as a set of practices or approaches to life that go against the existing set of norms. The growth of deviant behavior in college students has been associated with a number of biological, environmental and social factors inherent within the institutions. Though behavioral deviance is affected by time and place, college freshmen have adopted a fairly uniform sociological behavioral pattern.

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Problem statement

Deviant behavior is directly responsible for poor academic performance, substance abuse and increased student involvement in criminal activities. In most instances, students have engaged in activities such as binge drinking, body piercing, hard substance abuse among other criminal activities as a result of deviance in their behaviors. This literature review will analyze a number of scholarly publications and books on deviant behaviors in college freshmen.

The sources reviewed will be grouped based on the nature of deviant behaviors tackled, the method of investigation and the similarity in their findings. An examination of the articles that will be reviewed shows that the deviant behavior is associated with substance abuse in college freshmen. For example, most of the articles have categorized binge drinking as a direct cause of deviant behavior in students. In most instances as demonstrated in the articles, substance abuse arises as a result of the protest among students against the academic or family issues.

Deviant behavior and substance abuse in college freshmen

Most of the articles have categorized binge drinking as a direct impact of deviant behavior in students. As demonstrated in the articles, in most instances, substance abuse is triggered as a direct response of a student to numerous academic or family issues. Increase in deviant behaviors has been associated with an increase in substance abuse among college students across the United States. A number of literature sources that examined the relationship between deviant behavior and increased substance abuse in college freshmen have been reviewed. Hickson and Roebuck (2009) analyzed the relationship that exists between increased substance abuse in college freshmen and deviant behaviors.

Hickson and Roebuck (2009) state that deviant behaviors may vary from one college freshman to another, but have a common denominator of showing rebellious attitude. For example, most college freshmen engage in activities such as skipping classes, stealing from colleagues, starting a fire within the school compound and the destruction of property. In this study, freshmen from Virginia Commonwealth University were engaged in the split for science study and the data analyzed using SPSS software. In their study, Hickson and Roebuck (2009) explain that a correlation exists between deviant behavior and frequency of substance abuse among college freshmen.

In Leppel (2006), the impact of deviant and mainstream behavior in influencing college binge drinking in freshmen was evaluated. By examining the issue of binge drinking from the two different cultures, Leppel (2006) showed the role of deviant behavior in guiding this development in college freshmen. Using the logistic (“logit”) regression, Leppel (2006) explored the impacts that different cultural factors had in controlling this behavior in college freshmen.

In this article, the genesis of deviant behavior among college freshmen is evaluated. Contrary to the common perception of people, deviant behavior in college freshmen does not begin after the admission into the institution. Instead, the cultural setting and environment that a freshman has been exposed to as a teenager influences the stability of their behavior and willingness to engage in such activities as binge drinking.

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Likewise, Anderson (2014) addresses the key concepts of deviant behavior and the factors causing it. According to the author, deviant behavior among most teenagers rarely goes beyond copying some of the elements of celebrities’ style, including tattoos, piercing, clothes, etc. The author notes that, paying little attention to the innuendoes hidden behind the stylistic choices of their idols, teenagers copy a large variety of behaviors (Anderson, 2014).

For example, the aforementioned tattoos can be attributed to a vast variety of cultures. However, it is even more intriguing that teenagers not only copy the aforementioned elements of style, thus, defining the very concept of deviant behavior, but also alter the specifics of culture that these elements of style are attributed to. As a result, rebellious teenagers alter the reputation of the tattooed “from that of criminal and laborers to that of artists and free thinkers” (Anderson, 2014). The transformation is truly fascinating; more to the point, it makes one wonder whether the notorious dependency of teenagers on fads is actually the evidence of teenagers’ suggestibility. Instead, the phenomenon in question can be viewed as the ability of teenagers to transform the symbols of the existing cultures into something entirely new.

Though the idea might seem alluring, it is still worth admitting that the transformations, which delinquent teenagers make to specific symbols of other cultures, are still enhanced by the role models foisted onto young people by modern media. Therefore, either way, the so-called rebellion of teenagers is, in fact, a result of careful manipulations of corporations promoting a certain teenager lifestyle in order to cash in on teenagers’ naivety (Anderson, 2014).

Durkin, Wolfe & Clark (1999) approach the issue of deviant behavior from the perspective of the social bond theory to define how the specified type of behavior affects the development of binge drinking in college freshmen. A number of social variables affect the development of deviant behavior traits in college freshmen, and their involvement in binge drinking can be viewed as one of these variables, since TBD has a direct correlation with the rates of deviant behavior among teenagers.

This will reduce the likelihood of their engaging in substance abuse-related activities such as binge drinking. In the development of young people, Durkin, Wolfe and Clark (1999) argue that family attachment and a strong relationship is of primary importance. Ham and Hope (2003) identified a connection between increased drinking problem in college students and deviant behaviors. In this research, the primary psychosocial factors that determine the development of a drinking problem in college students are examined. These include demographic variables, family history, and social challenges, among other motives that are related to the development of deviant behaviors.

Deviant behavior and self-injury

To express their dissatisfaction with the system, the environment or the academic issues, as well as the issues related to relationships with teachers, deviant college freshmen often consider self-injury as a deviant behavior. Consequently, students use piercing, tattooing and the related techniques in order to manifest their protest against the system.

In Koch, Roberts, Armstrong and Owen (2010), the links between body art, piercing and self-harm and deviant behaviors among college freshmen was examined. This examination was done with a background comparison to the impact of media on fresh college students. Based on the sub-cultural theory, Koch et al. (2010) noted that students who indulge in self-injury and body piercing are more likely to have deviant behaviors. In such a case, students need assistance to resist the subculture notion of beauty that is foisted on them. To test this proposition, Koch et al. (2010) surveyed 1753 American college students, who were required to provide a report on their history of deviant behaviors.

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High school origin of college freshmen deviant behavior

In Daniel (2001), the role of technology and the internet in reshaping the perception of high school students before joining college is evaluated. The background that students acquire from high school significantly affects their attitude and behavior during the freshman stage in college. Daniel (2001) interrogated the role that technology plays in shaping the development of deviant behaviors among college freshmen while they do their final year in high school.

Sunstein (2000) interrogated the link between high school deviant behaviors and increase in substance abuse among college freshmen. According to Sunstein, deviant behaviors are manifested at an early age and do not necessarily begin from college. In this study, the duo interrogated the impact of deviant behaviors among high school students once they join college. The deviant behaviors considered by Sunstein (2000) are related to the symptoms of conduct disorder.

Just like in Sunstein (2000), Bryant (1990) evaluated the relationship between deviant behaviors in high school students and how this spills into freshmen college students. The prevalence of deviant behavior within the college setup was assessed, and the factors that affected their growth or decline were shown. A total of 175 college students from Wooster College were engaged in the study that looked at their engagement in criminal activities among other deviant behaviors.

Comparison of the articles reviewed

Most of the articles that have been reviewed in this paper have focused on the impact of deviant behaviors on college freshmen social life and academic performance. Leppel (2006), Durkin, Wolfe and Clark (1999) and Ham and Hope (2003) have focused on the relationship between deviant behavior and substance abuse in college freshmen. Though the aims of these four papers are common, the approach that they have adopted is significantly different. For example, Sunstein (2000) used a split science approach in which students from a single university were surveyed. Despite the variation in the approaches adopted for the surveys, these articles have provided a link between binge drinking and substance abuse with deviant behavior.

Koch et al. (2010) have interrogated a different social practice that is common in deviant college freshmen. Based on these two articles, students with a disturbed background are more likely to resort to self-harm to show their frustration with the established system. Such behaviors include body piercing, self-harm, tattoos among other body art. Such behaviors are indicative of the level of deviance in the student and are directly associated with their social background.

Deviant behavior and its regulation

Deviant behavior is, unfortunately, not new to the legal system of the United States; consequently, a range of legal papers shed some light on the problem, as well as provide means for addressing it. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (1974), though comparatively old, not only outlines the key types of juvenile delinquent behavior, but also suggests efficient measures for addressing the increasing rates of crime among youth. It is essential that the specified act creates the premises for correcting the behavior of delinquent adolescents instead of imprisoning them and, therefore, depriving them of the opportunity to integrate back into the society.

The prevention of serious and violent juvenile offending (2000), in its turn, is a moiré recent legal document, which provides essential information regarding juvenile crimes and, therefore, serves as the means of raising awareness among the U.S. population. A thorough analysis of the phenomenon and an efficient guide to juvenile crimes prevention, this paper is a decent update on one of the most topical issues in the modern U.S. society.

Conclusion

Based on the results from the articles reviewed, deviant behavior in freshmen college students is the reason for the recent increase in juvenile crimes. Alcohol abuse, rape and unprotected sex are common among college freshmen as reported by Koch et al. (2010). Based on the sub-cultural theory, Koch et al. (2010) noted that students, who embrace self-harm and body piercing are more likely to have deviant behaviors.

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In this research, the primary psychosocial factors that determine the development of a drinking problem in college students are examined. These include demographic variables, family history, and social challenges, among other motives that are related to the development of deviant behaviors. Koch et al. (2010) report that the deviant behavior has roots in college experiences, and this makes freshmen more susceptible.

From this review, the role of deviant behavior in the emergence of criminal activities among college freshmen is evident. However, the genesis of deviance in students remains a controversial issue as none of the articles reviewed has exhaustively addressed the issue. Consequentially, research should focus on the determination of the genesis of deviant behaviors in high schools and colleges.

Reference List

Anderson, T. L. (2014). Understanding deviance: Connecting classical and contemporary perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge.

Bryant, C. D. (1990). Deviant behavior: Readings in the sociology of norm violations. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Daniel, A. (2001). An exploration of middle and high school students’ perception of deviant behavior when using a computer and the internet. The journal of technology studies, 2(12), 345-350.

Durkin, K., T. Wolfe, and G. Clark. (1999). Social bond theory and binge drinking among college students: A multivariate analysis. College Student Journal, 33(3), 450-461.

Ham, L. & Hope, D. (2003). College students and problematic drinking: A review of the literature. Clinical psychology, 23(1), 719-759.

Hickson, M., & Roebuck, J. B. (2009). Deviance and crime in colleges and universities: What goes on in the halls of ivy? New York, NY: Charles C Thomas Publisher.

Koch, J., Roberts, A., Armstrong, M. & Owen, D. (2010). Body art, deviance, and American college students. Social science journal, 47(4), 151-161.

Leppel, K. (2006). College binge drinking: deviant versus mainstream behavior. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse, 32(4), 519-525. Web.

Sunstein, C. (2000). Deliberative trouble? Why groups go to extremes. The Yale law journal, 110(71), 71-119.

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. (1974). Web.

The prevention of serious and violent juvenile offending. (2000). Web.

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