Trends in non-drinking among Australian adolescents

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Abstract

Background and Aims

Recent evidence suggests that there has been a sharp increase in non-drinking among Australian adolescents. This study aimed to explore the socio-demographic patterns of this increase to identify the potential causal factors.

Design

Two waves (2001 and 2010) of cross-sectional data from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, a large-scale population survey. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify significant changes over time, with interaction terms used to test whether trends varied by respondent characteristics.

Setting

Australia.

Participants

Respondents aged 14–17 years (n = 1477 in 2001 and 1075 in 2010).

Measurements

The key outcome measure was 12-month abstention from alcohol. Socio-demographic variables including sex, age, income, socio-economic status, state and rurality were examined.

Findings

Rates of abstention increased overall from 32.9% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 30.0–35.7%) to 50.2% (95% CI = 46.7–53.6%) (P < 0.01). Abstention increased significantly across all population subgroups examined.

Conclusions

A broad change in drinking behaviour has occurred among Australian adolescents in the last decade, with rates of abstention among 14–17-year-olds increasing markedly. Increases in abstention have occurred consistently across a wide range of population subgroups defined by demographic, socio-economic and regional factors.

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