Alcohol drinking and problems in young populations: the challenge in Asia

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Purpose of review

The current article reviews recent research (from 2016 onward) on drinking behaviors and alcohol-related problems among young people in Asia with an emphasis on population-based evidence.

Recent findings

Recent evidence concerning underage drinking in Asia was limited to certain countries and societies with most data derived from cross-sectional surveys. Measures of alcohol drinking or problems were less sophisticated. The prevalence of recent alcohol drinking varies widely with the highest estimates reported in Hong Kong and Korea (∼21%). Certain emotional, behavioral, and cognitive characteristics have been linked with increased drinking behaviors, including internalizing or externalizing problems. Parents (or family) are the most studied predictors within the domain of socioenvironmental characteristics, whereas little attention has been paid to the macro environments (e.g., media, alcohol advertisement, and alcohol control policy/regulations).


Research on underage drinking behaviors in Asia is urgently needed, particularly in some emerging markets. Follow-up studies with longitudinal measurements and large diverse samples will provide a better understanding of developmental stage-dependent and ever-changing macroenvironmental factors, as well as possible mechanisms.

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