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High-risk environmental circumstances for adolescent drinking

The social and physical environment in which drinking occurs can impact the level of alcohol consumption and related consequences among adolescents. The authors of a study published in the journal of Substance Use state that for comprehensive prevention programming, it is necessary to understand which aspects of the drinking context exert the most risk for adolescent alcohol use.

A literature review was conducted to identify published studies that examined the relationship between aspects of the social (e.g., number of people present), situational (e.g., adult supervision) and location-based characteristics of the drinking context and adolescent alcohol consumption. A total of 15,853 articles were screened for inclusion, of which 31 were included for qualitative synthesis.

Adolescents most commonly consume alcohol on weekend evenings and either in their home or someone else’s home. Availability of alcohol, increased group size, and the presence of others, particularly close friends, who are drinking increases risk for alcohol use.

The authors conclude that certain environments exert greater risk for alcohol consumption among adolescents. Characteristics of these high-risk contexts represent modifiable factors of the environment that are informative to prevention and policy efforts.

Source: A systematic review of high-risk environmental circumstances for adolescent drinking. M. J. Cox, K. Sewell, K. L. Egan, S. Baird, C. Eby, K. Ellis & J. Kuteh. Journal of Substance Use.

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