Reducing risky drinking in children and young people: alcohol perceptions and attitudes interview and survey findings

Emma Giles, Justine Clephane, Simon Coulton, Jennifer Ferguson, David Gardiner, John Holmes, Neil Martin, Grant McGeechan, Colin Shevills, Melanie Soutar, Dorothy Newbury-Birch

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Background: Despite recent decreases in the number of children and young people (CYP) who drink alcohol, the North East (NE) of England has one of the highest youth drinking rates in the country with 10% of CYP drinking regularly. This research aims to identify factors which might impact on alcohol consumption: (1) intergenerational influences; (2) mimicking positive behaviors; (3) alcohol accessibility; and (4) social media and friendship. Materials and methods: An online survey was undertaken by CYP at seven schools in the North East of England. The survey was emailed by schools to all of their CYP in Years 7–10 (aged 11–15 years) and was completed in early 2017, with a target sample size of 1200. It explored alcohol use in CYP, why they do and do not drink, and explored their wider environment which may impact on their alcohol intake. Following completion of the survey, semi-structured interviews targeting 30–50 CYP were undertaken to explore in more detail the issues raised in the survey. Results: As of early March 2017, 760 CYP had completed the online survey, representing an average within school completion rate of 30%. In total, 32 in-depth interviews had also been undertaken with CYP from three schools. Final results for this study are expected at the end of April 2017. Preliminary results suggest that the majority of the sample do not currently drink alcohol. For those who do, they tend to consume alcohol on special occasions, such as birthdays, usually with parental approval. For those CYP that do not drink alcohol, they indicate that they perceive themselves to be too young to drink, that it is dangerous for health reasons, and that they wish to concentrate on their school performance. Also, they request more targeted information on alcohol. Conclusions: The results have implications for policy and practice partners on this research, in ensuring current drug and alcohol campaigns are appropriately ‘pitched’ to CYP, and that CYP are receiving messages as intended. Reinforcing the factors that CYP identify as reasons for not drinking when targeting alcohol screening and brief interventions with CYP is a key consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA18
Pages (from-to)25
JournalAddiction science & clinical practice
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2017
Event14th annual conference of INEBRIA - New York, United States
Duration: 14 Sept 201715 Sept 2017


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