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Monday, April 15, 2013

Underage drinking: Prevalence and risk factors associated with drinking experiences among Argentinean children

The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence and predictors of alcohol drinking behavior in children.

Data were obtained from 367 children, aged 8–12 years (M = 10.44 years, SD = 1.21 years; 61.9% female) from the city of C√≥rdoba, Argentina. Several scales were used to assess risk factors, including personality traits, alcohol expectancy (i.e., beliefs about the consequences of using alcohol), and perceived peer alcohol use, for alcohol drinking and alcohol drinking experiences. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to determine the contribution of multiple risk factors to the quantity of alcohol consumed.

The results showed that 58% of the children had tasted alcohol, and approximately one-third drank alcohol again after the first drinking experience. Twelve-year-old children had a significantly higher prevalence of tasting and drinking alcohol and a significantly greater frequency and quantity of alcohol consumed than younger children. Eighty percent of the children who liked alcohol during their first drinking experience reported that they drank alcohol again. Among the children who did not like alcohol during their first drinking experience, only 31% drank alcohol again.

Underage drinking usually occurred under adult supervision in family settings when parents or other relatives allowed them to drink or were aware of their children's drinking.

The hierarchical regression analysis showed that being older and male, having more peers that drink alcohol, having higher levels of extroversion, and having alcohol expectancy for social facilitation increased the risk for greater alcohol use. The final model explained 33% of the total variance.

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