15 October 2014 In Drinking Patterns

The study identifies changes in selected ("unplanned") socio-demographic and economic factors as well as in (planned) political measures that are most strongly correlated with changes in alcohol consumption and alcohol consumption-related harm between 1961 and 2006 in Austria. During the period of investigation consumption increased until the early 1970s, dropped during the next decade and have leveled off since. Increasing urbanization, female employment and average age of mothers at their child births are associated with the best time series model for the interpretation of consumption changes. The results regarding alcohol control policies and their impact on consumption were paradoxical. Study limitations were noted pointing up the necessity to improve indicators and concepts.

OBJECTIVE: The effects of binge-drinking during pregnancy on the fetus and child have been an increasing concern for clinicians and policy-makers. This study reviews the available evidence from human observational studies.

DESIGN: Systematic review of observational studies. Population: Pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant.

METHODS: A computerised search strategy was run in Medline, Embase, Cinahl and PsychInfo for the years 1970-2005. Titles and abstracts were read by two researchers for eligibility. Eligible papers were then obtained and read in full by two researchers to decide on inclusion. The papers were assessed for quality using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scales and data were extracted.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Adverse outcomes considered in this study included miscarriage; stillbirth; intrauterine growth restriction; prematurity; birth-weight; small for gestational age at birth; and birth defects, including fetal alcohol syndrome and neurodevelopmental effects.

RESULTS: The search resulted in 3630 titles and abstracts, which were narrowed down to 14 relevant papers. There were no consistently significant effects of alcohol on any of the outcomes considered. There was a possible effect on neurodevelopment. Many of the reported studies had methodological weaknesses despite being assessed as having reasonable quality.

CONCLUSIONS: This systematic review found no convincing evidence of adverse effects of prenatal binge-drinking, except possibly on neurodevelopmental outcomes.

BACKGROUND: Sipping or tasting alcohol is one of the earliest alcohol use behaviors in which young children engage, yet there is relatively little research on this behavior. The present research describes the prevalence of sipping or tasting in a community sample of children, examines the sociodemographic correlates and social contexts of this behavior, and tests whether variables reflecting psychosocial problem-behavior proneness, that predict adolescent drinking, account for this behavior.

METHODS: A sample of 452 children (238 girls) aged 8 or 10 and their families was drawn from Allegheny County PA using targeted-age directory sampling and random digit dialing procedures. Children were interviewed using computer-assisted interviews. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the univariate and multivariate correlates of sipping/tasting.

RESULTS: Thirty-nine percent of the sample had only sipped or tasted alcohol (35% of 8 year olds and 48% of 10 year olds), while 6% reported having had a drink of alcohol (5% and 7%, respectively). African-American children were less likely than White children to be sippers. Neither gender nor mother's education related to sipping status. Most sipping was done in a family context. Sipping/tasting did not generally relate to variables reflecting psychosocial proneness for problem behavior. Instead, the variables most predictive of sipping/tasting were perceived parents' drinking status, perceived parents' approval for child sipping, mother's drinking frequency, and children's attitudes toward sipping/tasting alcohol.

CONCLUSIONS: Young children's sipping/tasting of alcohol reflects parental modeling of alcohol use and increased opportunities to try alcohol in the home rather than deliberate family socialization of alcohol use, and appears not to be a precocious manifestation of a psychosocial proneness to engage in problem behavior.

BACKGROUND: Few studies have analyzed the frequency of alcohol use across time from adolescence to young adulthood and its outcome in young adulthood. A Swiss longitudinal multilevel assessment project using various measures of psychopathology and psychosocial variables allowed for the study of the frequency and correlates of alcohol use so that this developmental trajectory may be better understood.

METHOD: Alcohol use was studied by a questionnaire in a cohort of N = 593 subjects who had been assessed at three times between adolescence and young adulthood within the Zurich Psychology and Psychopathology Study (ZAPPS). Other assessment included questionnaire data measuring emotional and behavioural problems, life events, coping style, self-related cognitions, perceived parenting style and school environment, and size and efficiency of the social network.

RESULTS: The increase of alcohol use from early adolescence to young adulthood showed only a few sex-specific differences in terms of the amount of alcohol consumption and the motives to drink. In late adolescence and young adulthood, males had a higher amount of alcohol consumption and were more frequently looking for drunkenness and feeling high. Males also experienced more negative consequences of alcohol use. A subgroup of heavy or problem drinkers showed a large range of emotional and behavioural problems and further indicators of impaired psychosocial functioning both in late adolescence and young adulthood.

CONCLUSION: This Swiss community survey documents that alcohol use is problematic in a sizeable proportion of youth and goes hand in hand with a large number of psychosocial problems.

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