What could keep young people away from alcohol and cigarettes? Findings from the UK Household Longitudinal Study
AuthorsNoriko Cable, Maria Francisca Roman Mella and Yvonne Kelly
Methods: We used available cases (N=1,729) from adolescents aged between 10 and 15 who participated in waves 2 and 3 of the UK Longitudinal Household Study that has annually collected population representative data from 40,000 UK households. The outcome variable was patterns of cigarette and alcohol use among adolescents (1= persistent non-use; 2= ex-use; 3= initiation; 4= persistent use) that we derived by tabulating current alcohol or cigarette use at waves 2 and 3. Explanatory variables were scores on participants’ perception of overall happiness, awareness of harm due to alcohol and cigarette use, and supportive friendship network size, collected at wave 2. Covariates were participants’ sex, age, base level of self-reported health status, reported religious affiliation, and household social position. All estimates were corrected for the complex survey design and non-response. Multinomial logistic regression was used to test assumed associations by taking persistent cigarette and alcohol use as the reference category. Results: Findings showed higher happiness scores were longitudinally associated with adolescents’ persistent non-use (RRR=1.06, 95% CI=1.01-1.13). Awareness of alcohol or cigarette use-related harm was longitudinally associated with persistent non-use (RRR=1.24, 95% CI 1.15-1.35) as well as initiation of alcohol or cigarette use (RRR=1.21, 95% CI=1.11-1.32). Conclusion: Joint interventions to promote happiness and harm awareness could help young adolescents from engaging with drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes.
- How can you stop teenagers from drinking and smoking? Just keep them happy... then they won't need alcohol to try to feel less anxious, study finds