Understanding alcohol consumption in a family context

Presenter
Cara L. Booker, University of Essex

Authors
Cara L. Booker

Keywords
alcohol consumption; binge drinking; young people; parents; Understanding Society

Recent government policies have been proposed with the aim of curbing binge and heavy drinking, particularly among young people, and changing the drinking culture in the United Kingdom (UK). Alcohol consumption norms can be transmitted through peer and familial networks. The aim of this paper is to investigate the association between parental and youth alcohol consumption behaviours and the individual and household contextual factors associated with those associations.

The paper uses the adult and youth (10-15 year olds) surveys from Wave 2 of Understanding Society. Young people were asked about their frequency of drinking in the past month and the number of times they had consumed five or more drinks in a single setting, binge drinking, in the past month. Adult alcohol consumption was measured by a question about frequency of consumption in the past 12 months and the maximum daily alcohol consumption in the past seven days.

The findings showed that the proportion of young people who reported having had a drink in the past month was low but varied greatly with age. Similarly, binge drinking one or more times in the past month differed by age and gender. Patterns of parental alcohol consumption differed by gender, education and income. Overall, an increase in the frequency or amount drank by the parent was associated with an increased likelihood in the frequency of past month drinking or binge drinking of the youth. The strength of the association between parental past 12-month drinking and youth binge drinking increased with the addition of covariates.