Youth Drinking: The Effects of Alcohol Control Policies and Adult Drinking Patte

Summary

Principal Investigator: TIMOTHY SIMONDS NAIMI
Affiliation: Boston University
Country: USA
Abstract: Youth drinking is dangerous and leads to variety of health and social problems, including alcohol-related problems during adulthood. Alcohol control policies are designed to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and related harms. Because alcohol consumption by youths is widely perceived as an age-specific problem, most policy interventions target youthful drinkers primarily or exclusively. Such policy design may not be ideal, however, because youth learn drinking behaviors and obtain most alcoholic beverages from adults. Furthermore, some policies that target the general population also reduce youth drinking. Therefore, the notion that youth drinking is an age-specific phenomenon that should be addressed through youth-specific policies may result in inadequate efforts to reduce youth drinking. The long-term goal of this project is to understand the effects that alcohol control policies and adult drinking patterns have on youth drinking, and to determine whether stronger policy environments, including those targeting the general population, might reduce youth drinking. To accomplish this goal, we will test 3 hypotheses: that the presence of a strong policy environment is protective against youth drinking and adult drinking; that adult drinking patterns are strongly related to those of youth; and that a strong alcohol policy environment protects against youth drinking, even after accounting for the effects of youth-specific policies and adult drinking patterns. The specific aims are to: 1) determine the association between alcohol control policies, including those that are adult-oriented and youth-specific, and youth drinking behaviors; 2) to determine the association between adult drinking behaviors and youth drinking behaviors; 3) to determine the association between adult-oriented alcohol policies and adult drinking behaviors; and 4) to determine whether adult-oriented alcohol control policies protect against youth drinking, while assessing the effects of youth- specific policies and adult drinking patterns. To assess youth and adult drinking behaviors, we will use data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey to do longitudinal analyses using multilevel modeling. With the assistance of an expert panel, we will develop a novel statistical tool to describe policy strength by state and year using data from the Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS). The results from this study will have implications for policy- related efforts to prevent youth drinking. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Because alcohol consumption by youths is perceived as an age-specific problem, most policy interventions target youthful drinkers. Such policy design may not be ideal, however, because youth learn drinking behaviors and obtain alcoholic beverages from adults, and some policies that target the general population reduce youth drinking. The goal of this four-year proposal is to understand the effects that alcohol control policies and adult drinking patterns have on youth drinking, and to determine whether stronger policy environments, including those targeting the general population, might reduce youth drinking. To assess youth drinking behaviors, we will do longitudinal analyses using individual-level data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. With the assistance of an expert panel, we will develop a novel statistical tool to describe policy strength by state and year using data from the Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS). The results from this study will have implications for policy-related efforts to prevent youth drinking, and the use of APIS is a research priority by NIAAA.
Funding Period: ----------------2009 - ---------------2013-
more information: NIH RePORT