Although Spanish adolescents recognize that reiterative alcohol abusehas negative consequences over consumers and society in general,the percentages of teenagers who get drunk during the weekendskeep alarming high.Young people are exposed to a wide range of messages aboutthe externalities related to alcohol consumption whose connotationand importance are divergent. Our main goal is to analyze whichchannels are the most effective to reduce alcohol abuse. To that end,we focus on a theoretical framework which combines the forming ofrisk perceptions with the decision of consuming alcoholic beverages.We focus on young people because alcohol consumptionpatterns consolidate in adolescence and adolescents are also highlysensitive to peerpressure, and in general, to social forces.

Numerous studies have shown that alcohol intake causes neuropsychological disorders that affect various brain structures. The <> hypothesis proposes that the brain areas of alcoholics undergo deterioration similar to that observed in old age. We investigated whether alcohol abuse by young people (binge drinking) causes alterations comparable to some found in elderly people. Ninety-one people were divided into four groups: a) young people who abused alcohol; b) young people who drank alcohol in moderation; c) young people who did not drink alcohol; and d) elderly adults without any significant cognitive deterioration. All of them were assessed with a neuropsychological battery. We observed some similarities in the results obtained by young drinkers and the elderly participants, which would provide some support for the hypothesis of premature aging. The tasks that young drinkers performed worse were those related to executive functions, in which the prefrontal cortex plays an essential role. We also found differences between the two groups of young drinkers (moderate and high consumption), which leads us to believe that the amount of alcohol consumed and the pattern of consumption are factors to consider in relation to cognitive impairment.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to investigate how college students deal with conflicting health messages in advertising regarding binge drinking and wine promotion.

METHOD: Phenomenological in-depth long interviews were conducted beyond the point of redundancy (N = 16).

RESULTS: The results of this study indicated that students' meaning making regarding the conflicting messages relied greatly upon how consistent either message was with their prior beliefs about alcohol. Additionally, not all students perceived the messages to be contradictory; these students saw the messages as being constructed for different purposes and as such incomparable. Overall, students who perceived conflict responded to the topic with apathy fueled by advertising skepticism.

CONCLUSION: Employing qualitative methodology to understand how college students respond to conflicting messages will assist health promotion practitioners develop more effective alcohol abuse prevention messages and provide suggestions for researchers for studying this phenomenon from other perspectives in the future. Implications are further discussed within.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the frequency and determinants of alcohol use in a representative sample of 13 years old adolescents, and to analyse qualitatively how adolescents perceive this issue.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study with quantitative and qualitative components.

METHODS: Two thousand and thirty-six adolescents attending schools in a city in Portugal were surveyed using a self-reported, structured questionnaire. The qualitative component of the study included 30 semi-structured interviews that intended to assess the reasons for and consequences of drinking as perceived by adolescents, and also the preventive strategies they suggested.

RESULTS: Overall, 50.0% of girls and 44.9% of boys reported that they had experimented with alcohol, and 4.7% of girls and 6.6% of boys drink alcohol at least once per month. Most adolescents recognised that drinking alcohol is harmful and an addiction which is difficult to treat, but this perception was not associated with their own behaviour. Adolescents only identified minor and temporary consequences of drinking alcohol, usually related to very high and acute consumption. In order to prevent alcohol abuse and its consequences, adolescents proposed measures based on strict control, legal restrictions and economic measures, some of which are already in place in Portugal.

CONCLUSION: A high proportion of adolescents had experimented with alcohol by 13 years of age, showing the importance of starting prevention at an early life stage. The results also reflect the importance of reviewing prevention programmes in schools, highlighting the importance of families.

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