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Alcohol Misuse among English Youth, Are Harms Attributable to Alcohol or to Underlying Disinhibitory Characteristics?

McArdle, Paul, Coulton, Simon, Kaner, Eileen, Gilvarry, Eilish, Drummond, Colin (2021) Alcohol Misuse among English Youth, Are Harms Attributable to Alcohol or to Underlying Disinhibitory Characteristics? Alcohol and Alcoholism, . Article Number agab077. ISSN 0735-0414. E-ISSN 1464-3502. (doi:10.1093/alcalc/agab077) (KAR id:92789)

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Introduction: Alcohol use by young people is associated with a range of psychological and physical harms. However, similar harms are also reported with disinhibitory conditions such as conduct problems that are said to precede and predispose to alcohol misuse. We explored whether alcohol use or indicators of underlying disinhibition predict psychological and physical harms in a cohort of young people.

Methods: We used data from a randomised controlled intervention trial that identified young people who consumed alcohol (n = 756), mean age = 15.6 years, attending emergency departments (EDs) in England. Disinhibition was measured by the self-report Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire hyperactivity and conduct problem items, and alcohol-related harms by questions from the ESPAD, a major European school survey. We conducted a mediation analysis with a primary outcome of frequency of engaging in alcohol-related harms 12 months after screening in ED, exploring for the mediating influence of alcohol consumed at six months. We included age, gender, allocated group and baseline consumption as covariates and adjusted for the multi-level nature of the study, where young people were nested within EDs.

Results: Conduct problems and to a lesser extent hyperactivity predicted harms at twelve months. This effect was not mediated by alcohol consumed at 6 months.

Conclusions: Among young drinkers underlying behavioural attributes predict harm independently of alcohol use. This suggests that the harms associated with alcohol use are attributable more to underlying disinhibitory characteristics than the quantity of alcohol consumed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/alcalc/agab077
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Sian Robertson
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2022 16:10 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Coulton, Simon:
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