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Young and not so drunk: Sipping, drinking and Australian adolescents


Wadolowski, M and Bucello, C and Aiken, A and Mattick, R and Najman, J and Kypri, K and Slade, T and Hutchinson, D and Bruno, RB and McBride, N, Young and not so drunk: Sipping, drinking and Australian adolescents, Drug and Alcohol Review, 18-21 November 2012, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 24. ISSN 0959-5236 (2012) [Conference Extract]

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Issue: In the 2008 Australian Secondary Schools Survey on Alcohol and Drugs, 66% of 12-year-olds and 75% of 13-year-olds reported lifetime alcohol histories, suggesting adolescent alcohol use is prevalent. Existing research fails to distinguish between drinking and sipping alcohol, often combining sippers and drinkers into one category. However, sipping and drinking alcohol potentially represent very different behaviours and socialisation processes. Approach: Year 7 students (M = 12.5) were recruited via NSW, Tasmanian and WA secondary schools for a longitudinal parent-child cohort. During 2010/11, 1929 parent–child dyads completed baseline surveys. Measures include: alcohol use and harms; rules; parental style and monitoring; family relationships, confl ict and relations; peer substance use and approval; and delinquency. Key Findings: Sixty-seven percent of 12-year-olds and 75% of 13-year-olds reported lifetime alcohol histories. Only 4% of 12-yearolds and 10% of 13-year-olds reported ever drinking a glass of alcohol. However, 63% of 12-year-olds and 65% of 13-year-olds reported only ever sipping alcohol. Whilst parents were the largest alcohol source, peers were more likely to supply drinkers than sippers (÷2 (1,N=362) = 91.8, P = 0.000). Compared to sippers, drinkers had more substance-using and drunk peers (÷2 (1,N=1284) = 115.1, P = 0.000, and ÷2 (1,N=1284) = 128.9, P = 0.000, respectively). Implications: Adolescent alcohol use prevalence rates should be interpreted with caution. Sippers and drinkers likely have different alcohol use and misuse trajectories, with the behaviours potentially representing different socialisation processes. Conclusion: Whilst sipping alcohol is prevalent in adolescence, drinking is in fact less prevalent. Future research should further distinguish between sipping and drinking to better understand how the behaviours relate to adolescent alcohol trajectories.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Biological psychology
Research Field:Behavioural neuroscience
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bruno, RB (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:83680
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2013-03-20
Last Modified:2013-03-20

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