Parental alcohol supply at school leavers’ celebrations and other peer-based social events
Aims: We examined parental influences on drinking over two contexts – a typical social occasion, and at ‘Schoolies’, a multiple-day mass celebration. Particular focus was placed on addressing the mixed literature on the impact of parental alcohol supply.
Methods: Australian adolescents aged 17–18 completed a Last Event (N = 541) and post-Schoolies survey (N = 405).
Results: Parental supply of alcohol was commonplace at the Last Event (21%) and at Schoolies (25%). At the Last Event, exclusive parental supply was associated with lower consumption (10 vs. 12 standard drinks; p = .03). However, around half supplemented parental alcohol with other sources of alcohol and this nullified any protective effects. Parental supply did not affect quantity at Schoolies, though engaging with parents in a safety discussion about drinking was protective. Across both contexts, perceived parental disapproval of risky consumption mitigated against risk.
Conclusions: Identifying whether alcohol supplied by parents was combined with other sources was relevant, and parental supply per se is unlikely to be protective as this supply was commonly topped up. Parental safety discussions lowered risk at Schoolies and should continue to be promoted. Right up to the time when young adults were drinking in both typical and high-risk environments, parental disapproval continued to exert a protective influence over drinking.