Alcohol consumption drops among adolescents
Adolescent alcohol use is decreasing in Europe and North America and this seems to be related to public expenditures on family benefits. It was revealed by a study carried out by University of Padua and published in Drug & Alcohol Review.
The study was conducted by Alessio Vieno and Gianmarco Altoè of the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization of Padua University, in collaboration with La Trobe University in Melbourne and McGill University in Canada.
The researchers analyzed patterns of alcohol consumption between 2002 and 2014 in 175,331 15-year-old students from Europe and North America and observed an increase in the proportion of abstainers from 21% in 2002 to 35% in 2014.
Adolescents are considered to be at high risk of developing problems related to the use of psychotropic substances. For this reason, in accordance with the WHO recommendations, it was necessary to think about how to delay alcohol initiation and abuse as much as possible during adolescence.
“There seem to be some very relevant contextual elements to increase the probability that adolescents abstain from using alcohol”, explains professor Vieno. “In particular, it seems that the government expenditures on benefits to families in the last 15 years has led to a significant increase in the proportion of preadolescents that abstain from starting to drink alcohol at an early age”.
The study showed that this trend is much more pronounced in countries that spend more on public health, confirming that the investment translates into lower levels of adolescent alcohol use, associated with a reduction in terms of public expenditure and future problems in adulthood.