Alcohol consumption is a major health problem in most developed countries. In Mediterranean countries, experimentation with alcoholic beverages typically occurs during the early adolescent years within the family context. In this study we analysed alcohol consumption and its determinants in a survey of a sample of schoolchildren in 1994. The results were compared to those obtained in a previous study in 1987. In 1994 a random, stratified sample of all 8th grade classrooms of a city, public, private or subsidised school was, obtained. Some 759 13 and 14 year old pupils responded to a self-administered questionnaire on health-related habits. Overall, there was a high awareness of alcohol in the environment, as 20.7% of the pupils reported their father was a regular or occasional drinker and 41.6% declared some of their friends were drinking. Compared with the results of the 1987 survey, there was a marked decline in the proportion of schoolchildren reporting alcohol consumption by their father or their siblings. Regarding the pupils' consumption, 66.7% of them had tried drinking alcohol in 1994, 54.7% declared they were allowed to drink in family celebrations, and 17.2% had experienced being drunk. Most of these indicators showed a significant decrease compared with the 1987 data, with the exception of drunken episodes where there appears to be no changes. The results suggest that there are some changes in the Spanish context, where regular drinking among adolescents may be declining.
- Alcohol consumption
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