27 January 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND/AIMS: An appreciation of the drinking patterns of population subgroups may usefully inform tailored interventions. For this purpose, research has highlighted a need to better describe the drinking behaviour of UK women. This study aims to characterise the purchasing and consumption behaviour of female heavy, harmed, drinkers in contact with Scottish health services in two cities and to explore the factors that influence the link to harm.

METHODS: Mixed methods study involving cross-sectional survey questionnaires and one-to-one interviews (5). The questionnaires documented (1) demographic data (including derived deprivation score), last week's (or 'typical' weekly) consumption (type, brand, volume, price, place of purchase), self-reported illnesses, and (2) Alcohol-Related Problem Questionnaire score. A total of 181 patients with serious health problems linked to alcohol were recruited within National Health Service (NHS) hospital clinics (in- and outpatient settings), in two Scottish cities during 2012.

RESULTS: Median consumption was 157.6 UK units for the recorded week, with almost exclusive purchase from 'off-sale' retail outlets. Preferred drinks were white cider, vodka and white wine. Increasing problems was positively associated with drinking more in the week, being younger and belonging to Glasgow.

CONCLUSION: For Scottish women, the current definition of 'harmful' consumption likely captures a fourfold variation in alcohol intake, with gender differences less apparent. While current alcohol-related harm is positively associated with dose and being younger, there is clear evidence of an influence of the less tangible 'Glasgow effect'. Future harm concerns are warranted by data relating to pattern, alcohol dose and cigarette use.

27 January 2016 In Drinking & Driving

BACKGROUND: Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a significant public health issue. The likelihood someone will intervene to prevent DWI is affected by the characteristics of the individuals and the context of the potential driving scenario. Understanding such contexts may help tailor public health messages to promote intervening from those who are nearby to an intoxicated driver.

OBJECTIVE: This systematic review investigates the behavior of those close to an intoxicated driver and factors associated with increasing the likelihood they will intervene in situations where driving while impaired may be likely. The review of the literature is guided by an orienting framework, namely the classic social psychology theory of decision-making proposed by Latane and Darley.

RESULTS: Drawing upon this framework, the review examines the extent to which research has focused on factors which influence whether or not an individual identifies a need to intervene and identifies a seriously dangerous situation. In addition, consideration is given to perceived personal responsibility. The final two components of the model are then discussed; the perceived skill an individual who may intervene has (in their ability to intervene) and their actual enactment of the intervening behavior.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPORTANCE: Drawing upon such a well-considered theoretical framework, this review provides guidance on key components likely to assist in the development of targeted, more effective public education messages and campaigns that dissuade individuals from drinking and then driving.

26 November 2015 In Social and Cultural Aspects

AIMS: To examine the association of alcohol-brand social networking pages and Facebook users' drinking attitudes and behaviours.

METHODS: Cross-sectional, self-report data were obtained from a convenience sample of 283 Australian Facebook users aged 16-24 years via an online survey.

RESULTS: More than half of the respondents reported using Facebook for more than an hour daily. While only 20% had actively interacted with an alcohol brand on Facebook, we found a significant association between this active interaction and alcohol consumption, and a strong association between engagement with alcohol brands on Facebook and problematic drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study demonstrate the need for further research into the complex interaction between social networking and alcohol consumption, and add support to calls for effective regulation of alcohol marketing on social network platforms.

26 November 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: There are limited longitudinal data on the associations between different social contexts of alcohol use and risky adolescent drinking.

METHODS: Australian prospective longitudinal cohort of 1943 adolescents with 6 assessment waves at ages 14-17 years. Drinkers were asked where and how frequently they drank. Contexts were: at home with family, at home alone, at a party with friends, in a park/car, or at a bar/nightclub. The outcomes were prevalence and incidence of risky drinking (>/=5 standard drinks (10g alcohol) on a day, past week) and very risky drinking (>20 standard drinks for males and >11 for females) in early (waves 1-2) and late (waves 3-6) adolescence.

RESULTS: Forty-four percent (95 % CI: 41-46 %) reported past-week risky drinking on at least one wave during adolescence (waves 1-6). Drinking at a party was the most common repeated drinking context in early adolescence (28 %, 95 % CI 26-30 %); 15 % reported drinking repeatedly (3+ times) with their family in early adolescence (95 % CI: 14-17 %). For all contexts (including drinking with family), drinking 3+ times in a given context was associated with increased the risk of risky drinking in later adolescence. These effects remained apparent after adjustment for potential confounders (e.g. for drinking with family, adjusted RR 1.9; 95 % CI: 1.5-2.4). Similar patterns were observed for very risky drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that consumption with family does not protect against risky drinking. Furthermore, parents who wish to minimise high risk drinking by their adolescent children might also limit their children's opportunities to consume alcohol in unsupervised settings.

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