Page last updated: August 28, 2013

Adolescent alcohol use reflects community-level alcohol consumption irrespective of parental drinking

Risk factors for adolescent alcohol use are typically conceptualised at the individual level, and school- and community-level risk factors have received little attention. Based on the theoretical understanding of youth alcohol consumption as a reflection of community social practice, researchers from Denmark analysed whether adolescent drunkenness was related to community-level adult alcohol use (AAC), when taking individual and school-level risk factors for drunkenness into account. The researchers also investigated whether the association between community-level AAC and adolescent drunkenness was attenuated after inclusion of parental drinking.

The study used data from three sources: data about adolescent drunkenness from the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children 2010 survey (2,911 13- to 15-year-olds in 51 schools); data about community-level AAC derived from the Danish National Health Survey 2010 (177,639 participants); and data on school-level variables from Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children School Leader Survey 2010. Multilevel logistic regression analysis was performed with data from students nested within school classes and schools.

Overall, 33.5% of students had been drunk twice or more. High community-level AAC was significantly associated with adolescent drunkenness (odds ratio 1.94). Parental drinking was strongly related to adolescent drunkenness but did not attenuate the relationship between community-level AAC and adolescent drunkenness. No association was found between adolescent drunkenness and school-level variables (youth friendly environment, alcohol education, and exposure to alcohol outlets).

The study authors conclude that adolescent drunkenness was associated with community-level AAC and was not explained by parental drinking.

Source: Adolescent Alcohol Use Reflects Community-Level Alcohol Consumption Irrespective of Parental Drinking. Bendtsen P, Damsgaard MT, Tolstrup JS, Ersbøll AK, Holstein BE. New Dir Child Adolesc Dev. 2013 Jun;2013(140):37-55. doi: 10.1002/cad.20036.

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