Page last updated: October 23, 2014

Portman Group research reveals parents lack awareness of downturn in alcohol consumption by 11-15 year-olds

According to government statistics, 75% of 11-15 year-olds get alcohol from family or friends. 19% obtain alcohol from strangers and only 5% cite pubs or shops. Parents’ perceptions about where children source alcohol from were broadly in line with this.

Portman Group chief executive Henry Ashworth said, “Our research highlights the huge gap between the perception of parents and the reality of a significant cultural shift in underage drinking. We now need to improve our understanding of why this positive culture change is taking place, and what is fuelling the misunderstanding of parents. “We’re particularly pleased to see shops and pubs are recognised by parents as not being sources of alcohol for young people, showing the success of industry schemes such as Challenge 25 and Challenge 21 in preventing drinks sales to minors.” Few parents in England are aware of the decline in alcohol consumption among 11-15 year-olds in the past 10 years, according to research published by the Portman Group.

The Portman/YouGov poll of more than 1,000 parents found that 96% of them were unaware of this sustained decline. However, when informed of the trend and asked what they thought were the reasons for it, 57% said pubs and shops had become stricter against underage drinking. Other reasons cited by parents included the rise of social media and new technologies providing other things for young people to do (25%); increasing diversity in the UK among ethnic groups who do not drink alcohol (20%); increased use of alcohol labels and public health messaging, information and education (15%) and young people are rebelling against their parents’ generation, which had a more liberal approach to drinking alcohol (12%).

All text and images © 2003 Alcohol In Moderation.