24 October 2019 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Adolescent drinking has declined across many developed countries from the turn of the century. The aim of this review is to explore existing evidence examining possible reasons for this decline.

METHODS: We conducted systematic searches across five databases: Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Informit Health and Scopus. Studies were included if association between declining alcohol consumption and potential explanatory factors were measured over time. Narrative synthesis was undertaken due to substantial methodological heterogeneity in these studies.

RESULTS: 17 studies met the inclusion criteria. Five studies found moderate evidence for changes in parental practices as a potential cause for the decline. Five studies that examined whether alcohol policy changes influenced the decline found weak evidence of association. Three studies explored whether alcohol use has been substituted by illicit substances but no evidence was found. Two studies examined the effect of a weaker economy; both identified increase in adolescent alcohol use during times of economic crisis. One study indicated that changes in exposure to alcohol advertising were positively associated with the decline and another examined the role of immigration of non-drinking populations but found no evidence of association. One study tested participation in organised sports and party lifestyle as a potential cause but did not use robust analytical methods and therefore did not provide strong evidence of association for the decline.

CONCLUSIONS: The most robust and consistent evidence was identified for shifts in parental practices. Further research is required using robust analytical methods such as ARIMA modelling techniques and utilising cross-national data.

24 October 2019 In Drinking Patterns

AIM: To present a comparison between the effects on health due to a reduction in binge drinking (BD) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), as a result of ALERTA ALCOHOL, an intervention aimed at reducing BD in Spanish adolescents.

METHODS: A two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted with an intervention and a control group, randomized at the school level, following individuals over four months. The study population consisted of Andalusian adolescents aged 15 to 19 years who were enrolled in urban public high schools (n=1247). Participants were assigned randomly to receive the intervention. The main outcomes studied were the number of occasions of BD in the last 30 days, which was directly obtained from the answers given by the adolescents, and HRQoL measured with the EQ-5D-5L questionnaire. The model of estimation was the generalized estimating equations (GEE) approach.

RESULTS: The program showed a BD reduction at the 4-month follow-up, although it was not shown to significantly increase the HRQoL in adolescents who reduced the number of occasions of BD and had received the intervention. However, it was shown that those who would predictably reduce the number of occasions of BD controlled by several sociodemographic variables perceived a higher HRQoL, as did those who had a greater adherence to the program.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher adherence to a web-based computer-tailored intervention to prevent BD in adolescents has a positive effect on decreasing the number of occasions of BD in adolescents as well as on increasing participants' HRQoL, although this second effect is very small, which could be due to the short follow-up time. This fact is quite important and should be assessed extensively to corroborate the results and translate into health policy.

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