Prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption and health-risk behaviors among high school students in Thailand.Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2009; 33(12):2037-46AC
Underage drinking is a significant social and public health problem in Thailand. We report the prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption and associated health-risk behaviors using data from a 2007-2008 national school survey.
A cross-sectional survey using a self-administered questionnaire was conducted among 50,033 high school and vocational college students from 201 schools in 40 provinces between December 2007 and February 2008.
The prevalence rates of past-year drinking, past-30-day binge drinking, and drinking until intoxication were 25.5, 9.5, and 17.3% in boys and 14.5, 3.7, and 7.2% in girls, respectively. Higher school levels, lower grades, living with someone other than their own parents, and having family members with substance or alcohol problems were significantly associated with all kinds of drinking. Binge drinkers were significantly more likely to have drinking consequences, e.g., driving after drinking, nausea and vomiting, and having a hangover than were nonbinge drinkers. The rates of other behavior and emotional problems were 2.5 to 6.7 times as likely in drinkers as nondrinkers, including smoking (35.1% vs. 4.9%), prescription drug misuse (17.7% vs. 6.7%), illicit substance use (17.8% vs. 2.4%), carrying a weapon (6.5% vs. 1.8%), feeling depressed (23.2% vs. 10.9%), suicidal attempt (10.5% vs. 3.8%), and sexual intercourse (30.5% vs. 5.7%).
Alcohol consumption is a serious problem among adolescents in Thailand and is strongly associated with various health-risk behaviors. Effective age- and gender-specific interventions should be implemented to discourage underage drinking and associated adverse health and social consequences.