In the early 2000s, alcohol use among young people began to decline in many western countries, especially among adolescents (ages between 12-17 years old). These declines have continued steadily over the past two decades, against the backdrop of much smaller declines among the general population.
The authors of a paper published in the journal Addiction suggest that hypotheses examining individual factors fail adequately to provide the necessary ‘big picture’ thinking needed to understand declines in adolescent drinking. In their study, the normalisation thesis is used to argue that there is strong international evidence for both processes of denormalisation of drinking and normalisation of non-drinking occurring for adolescents in many western countries. This has implications for enabling policy environments more amenable to regulation and increasing the acceptability of non-drinking in social contexts. Normalisation theory (and its various interpretations) provides a useful multi-dimensional tool for understanding declines in adolescent drinking, they argue.
Source: Caluzzi G, Livingston M, Holmes J, MacLean S, Lubman D, Dietze P, Vashishtha R, Herring R, Pennay A. Declining drinking among adolescents: Are we seeing a denormalisation of drinking and a normalisation of non-drinking? Addiction. 2022 May;117(5):1204-1212.