International research spotlight on declining trends in youth alcohol consumption

April 2019

Professor Ann Roche was invited to present the findings from NCETA’s research examining differential patterns of risky alcohol use and illicit drug displacement effects among young workers to the international research conference Youth Drinking in Decline Thematic Meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society.

The thematic meeting held in Krakow Poland on 10-12 April 2019 explored the reasons for, and the implications of, declining patterns of youth alcohol use and associated trends in illicit drug use and smoking.

Professor Roche’s presentation specifically addressed the following research questions:

  1. Is the decline in alcohol consumption in the general population of young people also apparent among youth who are in paid employment?
  2. Are any declines in alcohol consumption among the sample offset by concomitant increases in illicit drug use?
  3. Do observed patterns of alcohol and drug use among young workers vary by industry group?
  4. Have the predictors of risky alcohol and drug use among employed young people changed over time?

Participants were informed by Professor Roche that NCETA’s study found that:

  • Reductions in risky drinking among young people were also being seen among employees in most industry groups
  • The patterns were different among different industry groups – suggesting a need for tailored strategies
  • There was no evidence for an ‘offset effect’ with illicit drug use
  • Attitudes about the acceptability of alcohol and perceived acceptability of cannabis were not associated with respective reductions in risky drinking or higher levels of cannabis use.

Professor Roche noted that the findings lend support to the role of social norms and cultural expectations in driving reductions in youth alcohol consumption.

For more detailed information about NCETA’s research exploring risky drinking and concomitant increases in illicit drug use among young Australian workers please see the Connections Newsletter February 2019 Research Focus article.