The proportion of adolescents who do not drink alcohol has increased during the last decade in many European countries, the USA and Australia. Few studies have addressed why this positive trend has occurred. A study examined associations between parenting factors, peers’ alcohol use and non-drinking among 15- to 16-year-old adolescents over time, from 2003 to 2015, and to evaluate potential gender differences.
Data was drawn from the Swedish subsample of European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs were used. Data were available for 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 in nation-based samples with responses from 11,531 adolescents in total.
The proportion of non-drinkers increased from 23.2% in 2003 to 48.7% in 2015. For each year, indicators of especially restrictive attitudes toward offspring drinking were robustly associated with an increased probability of non-drinking. However, neither indicators of parental monitoring nor parental attitudes toward offspring drinking were associated with the increase in the proportion of non-drinkers that occurred from 2003 to 2015. Two indicators of parental monitoring were more strongly associated with non-drinking among girls than among boys, while paternal restrictive attitudes toward offspring drinking were more strongly associated with non-drinking among boys than girls.
Parenting characteristics are important for adolescents who do not use alcohol, which has implications for prevention strategies. However, the increased trend of non-drinkers could not be attributed to parental factors, the authors conclude.
Source: The increased trend of non-drinking in adolescence: the role of parental monitoring and attitudes toward offspring drinking. Larm P, Livingston M, Svensson J, Leifman H, Raninen J. Drug and Alcohol Review. Published early online 22 February 2018.