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Associations between trust and drinking among adolescents

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posted on 2022-01-25, 01:06 authored by L Sjödin, Michael LivingstonMichael Livingston, P Karlsson, P Larm, Jonas RaninenJonas Raninen
Introduction: Trust is closely linked with health, but previous research on its association with alcohol use has yielded mixed findings. The aim of this study is to examine: (i) how two different dimensions of trust (general/institutional) are associated with alcohol use among adolescents; (ii) how these dimensions interact with alcohol use; and (iii) whether the associations are moderated by sex, parenting, health, school satisfaction or economic disadvantage. Methods: A nationwide sample of 5549 adolescents (aged 15–16 years) in Sweden answered a questionnaire in school. General and institutional trust were measured with five items each. Logistic regressions were used to examine associations between drinking and the trust dimensions, and the cross-combinations of these. Moderation by sex, parenting, health, school satisfaction and economic disadvantage was tested. Results: General and institutional trust were both significantly associated with drinking. High scores on both dimensions simultaneously were associated with the lowest probability of drinking, and low scores on both with the highest. Low institutional trust had a stronger association than low general trust. The combination of high institutional/low general trust was more protective than low institutional/high general trust. The association between general trust and drinking was moderated by school satisfaction, and the relationship between institutional trust and drinking was moderated by parental support and control. Discussion and Conclusions: High trust is associated with a lower probability of past-year drinking among 15–16-year-olds. Parents and schools can be useful in endeavours to prevent low-trusting individuals in this age group from drinking.


LS was funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare grant 2017-01741. JR was funded by Systembolagets Research Council on Alcohol. ML was funded by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship (GNT1123840). The funders played no role in the study design, analysis, interpretation or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.


Publication Date



Drug and Alcohol Review






(p. 221-229)





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© 2021 The Authors. Drug and Alcohol Review published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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