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The decline in youth drinking in England – is everyone drinking less? A quantile regression analysis.

journal contribution
posted on 10.01.2021, 21:03 by Melissa Oldham, Sarah Callinan, Victoria Whitaker, Hannah Fairbrother, Penny Curtis, Petra Meier, Michael Livingston, John Holmes
© 2019 The Authors. Addiction published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society for the Study of Addiction Background and Aims: Youth alcohol consumption has declined significantly during the past 15 years in many high-income countries, which may have significant public health benefits. However, if the reductions in drinking occur mainly among lighter drinkers who are at lower risk, then rates of alcohol-related harm among young people today and adults in future may not fall in line with consumption. There is conflicting evidence from Swedish school studies, with some suggesting that all young people are drinking less, while others suggest that alcohol consumption among heavier drinkers may be stable or rising while average consumption declines. This paper extends the geographical focus of previous research and examines whether the decline in youth drinking is consistent across the consumption distribution in England. Design: Quantile regression of 15 waves of repeat cross-sectional survey data. Setting: England, 2001–16. Participants: A total of 31 882 schoolchildren (50.7% male) aged 11–15 who responded to the Smoking Drinking and Drug Use among Young People surveys. Measurements: Past-week alcohol consumption in UK units at each fifth percentile of the consumption distribution. Findings: Reductions in alcohol consumption occurred at all percentiles of the consumption distribution analysed between 2001 and 2016, but the magnitude of the decline differed across percentiles. The decline in consumption at the 90th percentile [β = −0.21, confidence interval (CI) = −0.24, −0.18] was significantly larger than among either lighter drinkers at the 50th percentile (β = −0.02, CI = −0.02, −0.01) or heavier drinkers at the 95th percentile (β = −0.16, CI = −0.18, −0.13). Conclusions: Alcohol consumption among young people in England appears to be declining across the consumption distribution, and peaks among heavy drinkers. The magnitude of this decline differs significantly between percentiles of the consumption distribution, with consumption falling proportionally less among the lightest, moderate and very heaviest youth drinkers.

Funding

This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (Grant number: 208090/Z/17/Z).

History

Publication Date

24/01/2020

Journal

Addiction

Volume

115

Issue

2

Article Number

add.14824

Pagination

9p. (p. 230-238)

Publisher

Wiley

ISSN

0965-2140

Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

Licence

Exports