A new era for drinking? Epidemiological evidence on adolescent male-female differences in drinking incidence in the United States and Europe

PURPOSE: We seek answers to three questions about adolescent risk of starting to drink alcoholic beverages: (1) in new United States (US) data, can we reproduce a recently discovered female excess risk? (2) has a female excess risk emerged in European countries? and (3) might the size of country-level female-male differences (FMD) be influenced by macro-level gender equality and development processes?

METHODS: Estimates are from US and European surveys of adolescents, 2010-2014. For US estimates, newly incident drinking refers to consuming the first full drink during the 12-month interval just prior to assessment. For all countries, lifetime cumulative incidence of drinking refers to any drinking before assessment of the sampled 15-16 years.

RESULTS: Cumulative meta-analysis summary estimates from the US show a highly reproducible female excess in newly incident drinking among 12-17 years (final estimated female-male difference in risk, FMD = 2.1%; 95% confidence interval = 1.5%, 2.7%). Several European countries show female excess risk, estimated as lifetime cumulative incidence of drinking onsets before age 17 years. At the country level, the observed magnitude of FMD in risk is positively associated with the Gender Development Index (especially facets related to education and life expectancy of females relative to males), and with residence in a higher income European country.

CONCLUSIONS: New FMD estimates support reproducibility of a female excess risk in the US. In Europe, evidence of a female excess is modest. Educational attainment, life expectancies, and income merit attention in future FMD research on suspected macro-level processes that influence drinking onsets.

Additional Info

  • Authors:

    Cheng,H.G.; Anthony,J.C.

  • Issue: Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2016 Dec 3. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Published Date: 2016/12/3
  • More Information:

    For more information about this abstract, please contact
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at the Deutsche Weinakademie GmbH

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