28 June 2016 In General Health

Selection biases may lead to systematic overestimate of protective effects from 'moderate' alcohol consumption. Overall, most sources of selection bias favor low-volume drinkers in relation to non-drinkers. Studies that attempt to address these types of bias generally find attenuated or non-significant relationships between low-volume alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease, which is the major source of possible protective effects on mortality from low-volume consumption. Furthermore, observed mortality effects among established low-volume consumers are of limited relevance to health-related decisions about whether to initiate consumption or to continue drinking purposefully into old age. Short of randomized trials with mortality end-points, there are a number of approaches that can minimize selection bias involving low-volume alcohol consumption.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The alcohol industry produces 'responsible drinking' advertising campaigns. There is concern that these may promote drinking while persuading governments and the general public that the industry is acting responsibly. This paper examined young people's thoughts and feelings in response to one of these campaigns in Australia.

DESIGN: A qualitative analysis of introspection data provided by young drinkers after exposure to a responsible drinking advertisement produced by DrinkWise called 'How to Drink Properly'.

SETTING: Perth, Western Australia.

PARTICIPANTS: Forty-eight 18-21-year-old drinkers.

MEASUREMENTS: The qualitative data were imported into NVivo10 and coded according to the various stages of advertising effects frameworks. A thematic analysis approach was used to identify patterns in the data relating to (i) perceptions of the source and purpose of the advertisement and (ii) any resulting attitudinal or behavioural outcomes.

FINDINGS: Despite the sample comprising mainly high-risk drinkers, participants were generally unable to relate to the heavy drinkers depicted in the DrinkWise advertisement. This disassociation resulted in a perceived lack of need to modify their own drinking behaviours. Instead, the study participants found the advertisement to be entertaining and supportive of existing social norms relating to heavy drinking among members of this age group.

CONCLUSIONS: The 'How to Drink Properly' advertisement by Drinkwise in Australia may reinforce existing drinking attitudes and behaviours among young drinkers.

22 March 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Questions about drinking " yesterday" have been used to correct under-reporting of typical alcohol consumption in surveys. We use this method to explore patterns of over- and under-reporting of drinking quantity and frequency by population sub-groups in four countries.

DESIGN: Multivariate linear regression analyses comparing estimates of typical quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption with and without adjustments using the Yesterday method. Setting and participants Survey respondents in Australia (n = 26,648), Canada (n = 43,370), USA (n = 7,969) and England (n = 8,610).

MEASUREMENTS: Estimates of typical drinking quantities and frequencies over the past year plus quantity of alcohol consumed the previous day. FINDINGS: Typical frequency was underestimated by less frequent drinkers in each country. For example, after adjustment for design effects and age, Australian males self reporting drinking "less than once a month" were estimated to have in fact drunk an average of 14.70 (+/-0.59) days in the past year compared with the standard assumption of 6 days (t = 50.5, p < 0.001). Drinking quantity " yesterday" was not significantly different overall from self-reported typical quantities over the past year in Canada, USA and England but slightly lower in Australia (e.g. 2.66 vs 3.04 drinks, t = 20.4, p < 0.01 for women).

CONCLUSIONS: People who describe themselves as less frequent drinkers appear substantially to under-report their drinking frequency, but country and sub-group specific corrections can be estimated. Detailed questions using the Yesterday method can correct under-reporting of quantity of drinking.

22 March 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Parents are a major supplier of alcohol to adolescents, often initiating use with sips. Despite harms of adolescent alcohol use, research has not addressed the antecedents of such parental supply. This study investigated the prospective associations between familial, parental, peer, and adolescent characteristics on parental supply of sips.

METHODS: Participants were 1729 parent-child dyads recruited from Grade 7 classes, as part of the Australian Parental Supply of Alcohol Longitudinal Study. Data are from baseline surveys (Time 1) and 1-year follow-up (Time 2). Unadjusted and adjusted logistic regressions tested prospective associations between Time 1 familial, parental, peer, and adolescent characteristics and Time 2 parental supply.

RESULTS: In the fully adjusted model, parental supply was associated with increased parent-report of peer substance use (odds ratio [OR] = 1.20, 95% confidence ratio [CI], 1.08-1.34), increased home alcohol access (OR = 1.07, 95% CI, 1.03-1.11), and lenient alcohol-specific rules (OR=0.88, 95% CI, 0.78-0.99).

CONCLUSIONS: Parents who perceived that their child engaged with substance-using peers were more likely to subsequently supply sips of alcohol. Parents may believe supply of a small quantity of alcohol will protect their child from unsupervised alcohol use with peers. It is also possible that parental perception of peer substance use may result in parents believing that this is a normative behavior for their child's age group, and in turn that supply is also normative. Further research is required to understand the impacts of such supply, even in small quantities, on adolescent alcohol use trajectories.

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