OBJECTIVES: Despite potential health risks for women and children, one in five women report alcohol use during pregnancy and a significant proportion of those who quit during pregnancy return to drinking post-delivery. This study seeks to understand the longitudinal patterns of alcohol consumption before, during pregnancy and post-delivery, and the role of maternal characteristics for purposes of informing prevention design.

METHODS: General growth mixture models were used to describe the average developmental patterns of maternal weekly drinking quantity at six time points, from preconception through child entering kindergarten, as well as heterogeneity in these patterns among 9100 mothers from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study representing the 2001 US national birth cohort.

RESULTS: Four distinct classes of mothers were defined by their longitudinal alcohol consumption patterns: Low Probability Drinkers (50.3 %), Escalating Risk Drinkers (12.0 %), Escalating Low Risk Drinkers (27.4 %), and Early Parenting Quitters (10.2 %). Heterogeneous covariate associations were observed. For example, mothers who gave birth after age 36 were twice as likely to be Escalating Risk Drinkers and Escalating Low Risk Drinkers (vs Low Probability Drinkers), but not more likely to be Early Parenting Quitters, when compared to mothers who gave birth between the ages of 26 and 35.

CONCLUSIONS: for practice There is significant heterogeneity in maternal longitudinal alcohol use patterns during the perinatal period. Baseline maternal characteristics and behavior associated with these heterogeneous patterns provide valuable tools to identify potential risky drinkers during this critical time period and may be synthesized to tailor pre- and postnatal clinical counseling protocols.

Published in Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND: There is limited research on awareness of alcohol warning labels and their effects. The current study examined the awareness of the Australian voluntary warning labels, the 'Get the facts' logo (a component of current warning labels) that directs consumers to an industry-designed informational website, and whether alcohol consumers visited this website.

METHODS: Participants aged 18-45 (unweighted n = 561; mean age = 33.6 years) completed an online survey assessing alcohol consumption patterns, awareness of the 'Get the facts' logo and warning labels, and use of the website.

RESULTS: No participants recalled the 'Get the facts' logo, and the recall rate of warning labels was 16 % at best. A quarter of participants recognised the 'Get the facts' logo, and awareness of the warning labels ranged from 13.1-37.9 %. Overall, only 7.3 % of respondents had visited the website. Multivariable logistic regression models indicated that younger drinkers, increased frequency of binge drinking, consuming alcohol directly from the bottle or can, and support for warning labels were significantly, positively associated with awareness of the logo and warning labels. While an increased frequency of binge drinking, consuming alcohol directly from the container, support for warning labels, and recognition of the 'Get the facts' logo increased the odds of visiting the website.

CONCLUSIONS: Within this sample, recall of the current, voluntary warning labels on Australian alcohol products was non-existent, overall awareness was low, and few people reported visiting the DrinkWise website. It appears that current warning labels fail to effectively transmit health messages to the general public.

Published in General Health

This study examined the association between moderate drinking at age 16 (adolescence) and alcohol consumption at age 26 (young adulthood), whilst controlling for possible confounding effects at the individual and family level (assessed at birth and age 10). Using the British Cohort Study (BCS70), 6515 respondents provided data on their adolescent alcohol consumption and other behaviours. Of these, 4392 also completed the survey at age 26. Consumption patterns established in adolescence persisted, to a large degree, into early adulthood. Those adolescents who drank moderately in adolescence drank significantly less in adulthood than those adolescents who drank to heavy or hazardous levels. Implications for health promotion strategies and guidance are discussed.

Published in Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Uni-dimensional measures of alcohol consumption may be unable to fully capture the complexity of adolescent drinking and experience of alcohol-related harms. Latent class analysis provides an empirical method to understand different adolescent drinking patterns.

METHODS: Latent class analysis was used to create typologies of drinking among the 5018 current drinkers in the national Youth '07 survey. Determinants of drinking patterns were identified using multinomial logistic regression.

RESULTS: Four latent classes were identified, demonstrating an overall increase in risk of alcohol-related outcomes from increasing consumption. One class strongly deviated from this pattern, having moderate consumption patterns but disproportionately high levels of alcohol-related problems. Multinomial logistic regression found that the strongest predictors of belonging to high-risk drinking typologies were having a positive attitude to regular alcohol use, buying own alcohol, peers using alcohol, and obtaining alcohol from friends and/or other adults. Other significant predictors included being male, having a strong connection to friends, having parents with a low level of knowledge of their daily activities and poor connection to school. Class membership also varied by ethnicity.

CONCLUSION: The latent class approach demonstrated variability in alcohol-related harms across groups of students with different drinking patterns. Longitudinal studies are necessary to determine the causes of this variability in order to inform the development of targeted policy and preventative interventions. Legislative controls, such as increasing the legal purchase age and reducing the commercial availability of alcohol, will continue to be important strategies for reducing harm in young people.

Published in Drinking Patterns

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The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer.