Introduction and Aims. Alcohol is a key component of identity exploration for many young people, yet few studies have investigated identity construction in relation to problematic drinking. Increases in youth alcohol consumption have coincided with expanding use of communications technologies, particularly social networking sites (SNS), which have altered traditional conditions of identity construction. It has been found young people often engage with alcohol in the SNS environment by portraying themselves as binge drinkers. The current study applied an innovative approach to identity construction (the photographic essay) to provide insight into the portrayal of 'alcohol-identity' on Facebook.

Design and Methods. One hundred and fifty-eight university students completed a range of alcohol measures before providing access for researchers to view their Facebook profiles to operationalise their alcohol-identity according to autophotographic methodology. Results. Participants utilised a variety of photographic and textual material to present alcohol as a component of their identity on Facebook, with over half having selected an alcohol-related profile image. Alcohol-identity predicted alcohol consumption and problematic alcohol-related behaviours as measured by questionnaires used to reliably identify alcohol-related problems in university students. Almost 60% reported potentially problematic alcohol use according to the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test.

Discussion and Conclusions. Findings suggest that portraying oneself as a drinker is considered by many young people to be a socially desirable component of identity in the SNS environment, perpetuating an online culture that normalises binge drinking. Ready-made Facebook photo essays provide an alternate method of accessing problematic alcohol use, supplementing self-report measures.

Aims From the pre-teen to the mid-teen years, rates of alcohol use and misuse increase rapidly. Cross-sectional research shows that positive family emotional climate (low conflict, high closeness) is protective, and there is emerging evidence that these protective mechanisms are different for girls versus boys. The aim of this study was to explore gender differences in the longitudinal impact of family emotional climate on adolescent alcohol use and exposure to peer drinking networks.

Design Three-wave two-level (individual, within-individual over time) ordinal logistic regression with alcohol use in the past year as the dependent measure and family variables lagged by 1 year.

Setting Adolescents completed surveys during school hours.

Participants A total of 855 Australian students (modal age 10-11 years at baseline) participating in the International Youth Development Study (Victoria, Australia).

Measurements These included emotional closeness to mother/father, family conflict, parent disapproval of alcohol use and peer alcohol use. Findings For girls, the effect of emotional closeness to mothers on alcohol use was mediated by exposure to high-risk peer networks. Parent disapproval of alcohol use was protective for both genders, but this effect was larger for boys versus girls, and there was no evidence that peer use mediated this effect. Peer drinking networks showed stronger direct risk effects than family variables.

Conclusions Family factors unidirectionally impact on growth in adolescent alcohol use and effects vary with child gender.

BACKGROUND: In the Netherlands, children start to drink at an early age; of the Dutch 12-year olds, 40% reports lifetime alcohol use, while 9.7% reports last-month drinking. Starting to drink at an early age puts youth at risk of developing several alcohol-related problems later in life. Recently, a home-based prevention program called "In control: No alcohol!" was developed to delay the age of alcohol onset in children. The main aim of this project is to conduct a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

METHODS/DESIGN: The prevention program will be tested with an RCT among mothers and their 6 grade primary school children (11-12 years old), randomly assigned to the prevention or control condition. The program consists of five printed magazines and an activity book designed to improve parental alcohol-specific socialization. Parent-child dyads in the control group receive a factsheet information brochure, which is the standard alcohol brochure of the Trimbos Institute (the Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction).Outcome measures are initiation of alcohol use (have been drinking at least one glass of alcohol), alcohol-specific parenting, susceptibility to drinking alcohol, alcohol expectancies, self-efficacy, and frequency and intensity of child alcohol use. Questionnaires will be administered online on secured Internet webpages, with personal login codes for both mothers and children. Mothers and children in both the experimental and control condition will be surveyed at baseline and after 6, 12, and 18 months (follow-ups).

DISCUSSION: The present study protocol presents the design of an RCT evaluating the effectiveness of the home-based "In control: No alcohol!" program for 6 grade primary school children (11-12 years old). It is hypothesized that children in the prevention condition will be less likely to have their first glass of alcohol, compared to the control condition. When the prevention appears to be effective, it can easily and relatively quickly be implemented as a standard alcohol prevention program on a large scale.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Nederlands Trial Register NTR2564

AIM: The aim of this study is to examine the susceptibility of very young adolescents (10-12years of age) to peer alcohol-related influences, compared to older adolescents (13-14years of age).

METHODS: The analysis sample consisted of 7064 adolescents in grade 6 (modal age 11) or grade 8 (modal age 13) from 231 schools in 30 communities across three Australian States. Key measures were adolescent reports of alcohol use (past 30days) and the number of peers who consume alcohol without their parent's awareness. Control variables included parent alcohol use, family relationship quality, pubertal advancement, school connectedness, sensation seeking, depression, length of time in high school, as well as age, gender, father/mother education, and language spoken at home. A multi-level model of alcohol use was used to account for school-level clustering on the dependent variable.

RESULTS: For both groups, the number of peers who consumed alcohol was associated with alcohol use, but Grade 6 students showed a unique susceptibility to peripheral involvement with peer drinking networks (having one friend who consumed alcohol).

CONCLUSION: The results point to the importance of monitoring and responding to comparatively minor shifts in the proportion of peers who use alcohol, particularly among very young adolescents.

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