|Institution:||University of New South Wales|
|Department:||National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre|
|Keywords:||Alcohol initiation; Adolescence; Alcohol use; Epidemiology; Public health|
|Full text PDF:||http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/53762|
Background Substantial rates of early adolescent alcohol consumption have been reported in population surveys and cohort studies, most often occurring in parent-supervised contexts. Having a sip(s) of alcohol (sipping) is a common early adolescent behaviour, typically preceding whole beverage consumption (drinking). No known studies have explicitly addressed rates of sipping in relation to drinking. Parenting practices, peer influences and problem behaviours are known predictors of adolescent alcohol consumption. How these factors differ in relation to sipping and drinking, and their relationship with parental alcohol provision, has not been addressed in existing literature. Methods Utilizing a longitudinal cohort of early adolescent parent-child dyads, four studies sought to examine: 1) the extent of sipping and drinking as distinct quantities of alcohol consumption; 2) cross-sectional associations between sipping and drinking in relation to parenting practices, peer influences, and problem behaviours; 3) prospective associations between parenting practices, peer influences, and problem behaviours with sipping and drinking one-year later; and 4) prospective associations between parenting practices, peer influences, and problem behaviours on parental alcohol provision one-year later. Results Study I documented that early adolescent lifetime alcohol consumption was high (67%). Disaggregating consumption into sipping or drinking showed that most consumption was limited to sipping (62%), and drinking was uncommon (5%). Study II demonstrated that sipping and drinking were associated with lenient parental alcohol-specific rules, substance-using peers, and decreased problem behaviours. In the prospective analyses of Study III, lenient alcohol-specific rules, home alcohol access, decreased parental monitoring, and substance-using peers were also associated with sipping and drinking one-year later. Finally, Study IV found parental alcohol provision was unrelated to poor parenting practices, and was prospectively predicted by parental alcohol consumption, home alcohol access, lenient alcohol-specific rules, and parental perception of substance-using peers. Conclusions Sipping, but not drinking, was common during early adolescence. The present findings demonstrated the need to distinguish between sipping and drinking as independent quantities of alcohol consumption. Meanwhile, parental provision appeared to represent positive parenting opportunities and attempts to supervise adolescent alcohol initiation. Together, the present findings have significant implications for adolescent alcohol epidemiology, and future prevention and intervention research and policies.