Teen drinking declines as parents change their attitude to alcohol consumption

Paul Hayes

12/01/2018 2:58:14 PM

Australian teenagers are drinking alcohol at significantly lower rates than two decades ago, according to a new study.

While close to 70% of teens reported having drunk alcohol in 1999, the number dropped to 45% in 2015.
While close to 70% of teens reported having drunk alcohol in 1999, the number dropped to 45% in 2015.

The research was conducted in collaboration between Deakin University and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and analysed survey data collected from more than Australian 41,000 adolescents (with an average age of 13.5). The results of the study, published in Drug and Alcohol Review, revealed a significant decrease in teenage alcohol consumption since the turn of the century.
While close to 70% of teenagers reported having already drunk alcohol in 1999, that number dropped to 45% in 2015.
According to the study, parents’ changing attitudes towards teenage drinking have been be a factor in the decline, with evidence of a reduced tendency for parents to supply alcohol to their children.
Lead researcher Professor John Toumbourou, Chair in Health Psychology at Deakin’s School of Psychology, has hailed the reduced levels of teenage drinking as ‘a huge public health success story for Australia’.
‘It shows parents are making radical changes in their attitude to underage drinking, and also how they model their own drinking behaviour,’ he said. ‘We can see that parents are taking on the advice from our national health guidelines that even a small amount of alcohol is harmful to teenagers.
‘This shows that programs such as school drug education, restrictive underage purchase laws, market regulation, and parent education are all critical in ensuring we protect our young people from drug and alcohol harm.’
In addition, tighter restrictions on serving alcohol to minors has played a role in the reduced levels of drinking, with underage purchase of alcohol dropping from 12% to 1% during the survey period.

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Mai Maddisson   16/01/2018 5:16:28 PM

Sadly there will always be a need for self soothing- c'est la vie. It is only the extent which varies .
We talk about increasing mental health problems among the young. We talk about escalating illicit drug use among them. I had not heard of such dramas half a century ago.
I would be delighted if the incidence of a need for all forms of self soothing has reduced but the mental health statistics tend not to indicate such. Maybe it is delusional to interpret such a result in isolation as improving the total health status of a person.
People will only declare positive changes. I would be interested to see graphs of simultaneous use of other self soothers- done as separate studies,( including prescribed psychotropic medications), as doing such conjointly would generate confounding variables.
And maybe we don't consider the lateral legacies of such changes. I was young when the six o'clock swill was still part of local culture. Somehow the agro person who staggered home from the pub and fell asleep was a far safer option, than the agro person who bypassed the pub and lashed into their family. Note the word staggered-- cars were a luxury those days!
Maybe we are just deflecting an issue rather than facing what is generating it.