Page last updated: , January, 2011
Rural underage binge drinkers put their health at risk in Germany

A report on youth binge drinking in Germany by Dr Caroline Donath, from the Psychiatric University Clinic at Erlangen and colleagues, examined epidemiological data and analysed alcohol consumption patterns with respect to both urban-rural differences and differences according to migration background.
The study used data from a representative written survey of 44,610 students in the 9th grade of different school types in Germany in 2007/8.
27.4 % of the adolescents surveyed had a migration background. Turkish immigrants accounted for the largest group followed by adolescents who emigrated from former Soviet Union states. The sample included seven large cities, independent smaller cities and rural areas.
The results indicated that a life-time prevalence for alcohol consumption differs significantly between rural (93.7 %) and urban areas (86.6 % large cities; 89.1 % smaller cities) with a higher prevalence in rural areas. 57.3 % of the rural, and 45.9 % of the urban adolescents engaged in binge drinking in the 4 weeks prior to the survey.
Students with migration background of the former Soviet Union showed drinking behaviour similar to that of German adolescents. Adolescents with Turkish roots had engaged in binge drinking in the last four weeks less frequently than adolescents of German descent (23.6 % vs. 57.4 %). However, in those adolescents who consumed alcohol in the last 4 weeks, binge drinking is very prominent across the cultural backgrounds.
The authors conclude that binge drinking is a common problem behaviour in German adolescents. Obviously adolescents with rural residence have fewer alternatives for engaging in interesting leisure activities than adolescents living in cities. This might be one reason for the more problematic consumption patterns there. Common expectations concerning drinking behavior of adolescents of certain cultural backgrounds (‘migrants with Russian background drink more’/ ‘migrants from Arabic respectively Oriental-Islamic countries drink less’) were only partly affirmed. Possibly, the degree of acculturation to the permissive German alcohol culture plays a role here.

Source: Alcohol consumption and binge drinking in adolescents: comparison of different migration backgrounds and rural vs. urban residence - a representative study Caroline Donath, Elmar Gräßel, Dirk Baier, Christian Pfeiffer, Deniz Karagülle, Stefan Bleich, Thomas Hillemacher BMC Public Health
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