State alcohol-use estimates among youth and adults, 1993-2005.Am J Prev Med 2009; 36(3):218-24AJ
Underage drinking, particularly binge drinking, is an important public health problem that results in substantial premature mortality and morbidity. Little is known about the potential influence of the alcohol-use behaviors of adults on youth alcohol use at a population level. The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation of alcohol-use behaviors among youth with those of adults at a population level.
Data were analyzed in 2007 and 2008, using biennial 1993-2005 data from state school-based Youth Risk Behavior Surveys of students in grades 9-12, and from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for adults aged >or=18 years. Pearson correlation coefficients (r) were used to compare state prevalence estimates for youth with those of adults for several alcohol-use measures.
Overall and subgroup-specific state youth estimates of current drinking and binge drinking were generally moderately to strongly correlated with adult alcohol use (range of r -values for pooled estimates across all years: 0.35-0.68 for current drinking [p<0.01 for all correlations]; 0.24-0.60 for binge drinking [p<0.01 for all correlations]) and with youth and adult drinking-and-driving behaviors (range of r-values for pooled estimates: 0.12-0.52, p<0.01 for all but one correlation). Correlation coefficients were generally higher for girls with women and for youth with younger adults aged 18-34 years. The use of alcohol by youth before they were aged 13 years was not correlated with adult alcohol-use measures, and most youth alcohol-use measures were not correlated with adult heavy-alcohol use.
Most state youth alcohol-use estimates were correlated with state adult estimates. These findings have implications for underage-drinking control strategies and suggest that efforts to address this problem need to be targeted on a broader societal level.