eCite Digital Repository

Sipping, drinking, and early adolescent alcohol consumption: a cautionary note


Wadolowski, M and Bruno, R and Aiken, A and Stone, C and Najman, J and Kypri, K and Slade, T and Hutchinson, D and McBride, N and Mattick, RP, Sipping, drinking, and early adolescent alcohol consumption: a cautionary note, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39, (2) pp. 350-354. ISSN 0145-6008 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 by the Research Society on Alcoholism

DOI: doi:10.1111/acer.12613


Background: Epidemiological studies report markedly varying rates of adolescent alcohol involvement. Despite being a common adolescent behavior, a potential cause of this variation is that consumption of sips is either not measured or not distinguished from consumption of whole beverages.

Methods: Participants were 1,843 grade 7 adolescents recruited across 49 Australian secondary schools (M age = 12.4, SD = 0.5). Quantity and frequency of lifetime and past 6-month consumption were assessed, distinguishing between sipping and drinking. For comparison with international population surveys, quantity was reported as any consumption, sipping only, and drinking only.

Results: Combining sipping and drinking into a single category, lifetime consumption was reported by 67.3% of the present sample. Distinguishing lifetime consumption by sipping and drinking: only 7.8% of adolescents had consumed a whole beverage; the remaining 59.6% had only sipped. Consumption of whole beverages was mostly limited to 1 to 2 drinks (84.2% of drinkers). Sipping and drinking were also infrequent: 78.2% of sipping and 60.4% of drinking, occurred less than monthly. Heavy episodic consumption was uncommon (1.2% of the sample). When other population studies were inspected, a clear trend for higher drinking rates were found in those studies where sipping was counted as drinking and vice versa.

Conclusions: Consumption of whole beverages appears infrequent in early adolescence, as sipping, but not drinking, was common in our sample. Comparing the present data with international population consumption measures highlights the need to more precisely measure and report adolescent consumption, particularly in relation to sipping.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adolescents, alcohol, epidemiology, public health
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Other psychology
Research Field:Other psychology not elsewhere classified
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, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:98446
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2015-02-16
Last Modified:2017-11-07

Repository Staff Only: item control page