21 September 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

AIMS: To assess temporal trends of adolescent alcohol use in Finland from 2000 to 2011, according to socio-economic status and depression.

METHODS: Classroom self-administered questionnaires concerning health, health behaviours and school experiences were administered biennially from 2000-2001 to 2010-2011 to nationwide samples of 14- to 16-year-olds (n = 618,084). Alcohol use was measured as the frequencies of drinking and drunkenness. Socioeconomic status was measured using parental education and unemployment. Depression was measured using a Finnish modification of the Beck Depression Inventory. Cross-tabulations and a logistic regression analysis were applied.

RESULTS: Over the study period, rates of frequent drinking and frequent drunkenness decreased among both boys and girls. Low levels of parental education and unemployment as well as adolescent depression increased the likelihoods of frequent drinking and drunkenness. Unlike the general decreasing trend observed for alcohol use, the likelihoods of frequent drinking and drunkenness increased among adolescents who were depressed and had unemployed parents with low levels of education. The prevalence of frequent drunkenness was 75.8% among the boys in this group during 2008-2011, whereas the corresponding prevalence was 2.3% for boys without depression and with highly educated, employed parents. The corresponding figures for girls were 41.7% and 1.4%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The overall decreasing trend in frequent alcohol use was not observed among socioeconomically deprived adolescents with depression. Thus, alcohol prevention programmes should treat these youth as special targets.

21 September 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health, we estimate the effect of peers' alcohol consumption and alcohol prices on the drinking habits of high-school-age youth. We use the two-stage residual inclusion method to account for the endogeneity of peer drinking in nonlinear models. For our sample of high school students, we find that peer effects are statistically and economically significant regarding the choice to participate in drinking but are not significant for the frequency of drinking, including binge drinking. Regarding alcohol prices, even though we have good price variation in our sample, alcohol prices are not found to be significant. The results are important for policymakers who are considering policies to reduce underage drinking, as we conclude that no significant impact on underage drinking will result from low-tax states' increasing excise taxes on alcohol so they are similar to those of high-tax states. Policymakers may choose to focus instead on the influence of peers and changing the social norm behavior.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The alcohol industry produces 'responsible drinking' advertising campaigns. There is concern that these may promote drinking while persuading governments and the general public that the industry is acting responsibly. This paper examined young people's thoughts and feelings in response to one of these campaigns in Australia.

DESIGN: A qualitative analysis of introspection data provided by young drinkers after exposure to a responsible drinking advertisement produced by DrinkWise called 'How to Drink Properly'.

SETTING: Perth, Western Australia.

PARTICIPANTS: Forty-eight 18-21-year-old drinkers.

MEASUREMENTS: The qualitative data were imported into NVivo10 and coded according to the various stages of advertising effects frameworks. A thematic analysis approach was used to identify patterns in the data relating to (i) perceptions of the source and purpose of the advertisement and (ii) any resulting attitudinal or behavioural outcomes.

FINDINGS: Despite the sample comprising mainly high-risk drinkers, participants were generally unable to relate to the heavy drinkers depicted in the DrinkWise advertisement. This disassociation resulted in a perceived lack of need to modify their own drinking behaviours. Instead, the study participants found the advertisement to be entertaining and supportive of existing social norms relating to heavy drinking among members of this age group.

CONCLUSIONS: The 'How to Drink Properly' advertisement by Drinkwise in Australia may reinforce existing drinking attitudes and behaviours among young drinkers.

22 March 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Drinking in youth is linked to other risky behaviours, educational failure and premature death. Prior research has examined drinking in mid and late teenagers, but little is known about the factors that influence drinking at the beginning of adolescence. Objectives were: 1. to assess associations of parental and friends' drinking with reported drinking among 11 year olds; 2. to investigate the roles of perceptions of harm, expectancies towards alcohol, parental supervision and family relationships on reported drinking among 11 year olds.

METHODS: Analysis of data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study on 10498 11-year-olds. The outcome measure was having drank an alcoholic drink, self-reported by cohort members.

RESULTS: 13.6 % of 11 year olds reported having drank. Estimates reported are odds ratios and 95 % confidence intervals. Cohort members whose mothers drank were more likely to drink (light/moderate = 1.6, 1.3 to 2.0, heavy/binge = 1.8, 1.4 to 2.3). Cohort members whose fathers drank were also more likely to drink but these estimates lost statistical significance when covariates were adjusted for (light/moderate = 1.3, 0.9 to 1.9, heavy/binge = 1.3, 0.9 to 1.9). Having friends who drank was strongly associated with cohort member drinking (4.8, 3.9 to 5.9). Associated with reduced odds of cohort member drinking were: heightened perception of harm from 1-2 drinks daily (some = 0.9, 0.7 to 1.1, great = 0.6, 0.5 to 0.7); and negative expectancies towards alcohol (0.5, 0.4 to 0.7). Associated with increased odds of cohort member drinking were: positive expectancies towards alcohol (1.9, 1.4 to 2.5); not being supervised on weekends and weekdays (often = 1.2, 1.0 to 1.4); frequent battles of will (1.3, 1.1 to 1.5); and not being happy with family (1.2, 1.0 to 1.5).

CONCLUSIONS: Examining drinking at this point in the lifecourse has potentially important public health implications as around one in seven 11 year olds have drank, although the vast majority are yet to explore alcohol. Findings support interventions working at multiple levels that incorporate family and peer factors to help shape choices around risky behaviours including drinking.

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