Significant Others And Social Alcohol Use In Adolescents

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Summary

The association between adolescent drinking and drinking of significant others is well known but underlying mechanisms are still not well understood. The purpose of the study was to investigate the association between social drinking in adolescents and drinking patterns of their significant others. We conducted a survey using a self-completed questionnaire on alcohol drinking habits. Of 903 students (aged 15-19), 279 (30.9%) were found to be abstainers (NDA) and 455 (50.39%) – social drinkers (SDA). These two groups were compared statistically about drinking patterns of their significant others. It was found that SDA were more likely to have fathers (OR=0.26; 95%CI=0.19-0.37), mothers (OR=0.26; 95%CI=0.19-0.37), friends (OR=0.26; 95%CI=0.19-0.37) and lovers (OR=0.26; 95%CI=0.19-0.37) that drank socially than NDA, but there were no significant differences in regular drinking of their fathers, friends and lovers. Only SDA mothers were more likely to drink regularly (OR=0.26; 95%CI=0.19-0.37). SDA were also more likely to receive alcohol offers from all their significant others, except from lovers. Social drinking in adolescence seems to be strongly socially motivated by drinking modeling and social pressure. The SDA mothers’ regular drinking is hard to explain in terms of social learning and social control theory and needs an alternative explanation.

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