Australian adolescent alcohol use risk in 2011 and 2014



Introduction and Aims

Changes in risk and protective factors of adolescent alcohol use may be contributing to the recent decline in Australian adolescents alcohol use. The study aimed to determine the: (i) prevalence of alcohol use, risk and protective factors in 2011 and 2014; and (ii) association between alcohol use and risk and protective factors in 2011 and 2014.

Design and Methods

A repeat cross-sectional study was conducted. Grade 9–10 (aged 15–17 years) students from 32 Australian secondary schools were sampled in 2011 and 2014. A self-report survey collected data regarding alcohol use (ever, recent, ‘binge drinking’), risk factors (e.g. alcohol use/permissive attitude to alcohol by friends/siblings/parents) and protective factors (e.g. self-efficacy; school/home/community support; peer caring relationships). Descriptive statistics were used to determine differences in alcohol use, risk and protective factors between 2011 and 2014. Adjusted multivariable logistic regression analyses examined associations between alcohol use, risk and protective factors separately in 2011 and 2014 (six models).


Fewer adolescents reported alcohol use in 2014 compared with 2011 (ever: 56.6% vs. 67.9%, recent: 17.3% vs. 21.2%, ‘binge drinking’: 20.0% vs. 23.5%; 2011: n = 4366; 2014: n = 5199). Significant differences between 2014 and 2011 were found for some risk (five lower; one higher) and protective factors (four lower). Risk factors that were significantly lower in 2014 compared to 2011 were amongst variables with the strongest associations with alcohol use.

Discussion and Conclusions

The strength of associations with alcohol use, and decrease in the prevalence of certain risk factors in 2014 compared to 2011, suggests such factors may be contributing to the decline in adolescent alcohol use.


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