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J Stud Alcohol. 2005 Sep;66(5):605-9.

Alcohol use and mental health in adolescents: interactions with age and gender-findings from the Dutch 2001 Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children survey.

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  • 1Trimbos Institute (the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction), Utrecht, the Netherlands. jverdurmen@trimbos.nl



This study examines the association between alcohol use and mental health in adolescence, specifically the interaction with age and gender.


Data were derived from the 2001 Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) survey--a repeated cross-sectional study with a total of 5,730 students aged 12-16 years, carried out as part of the World Health Organization cross-national HBSC Project. A two-stage random sampling procedure was used. Written questionnaires were administered in classroom settings. These contained questions about alcohol and other drug use as well as sociodemographic and behavioral variables. In addition, the Youth Self-Report was used to assess mental health.


Weekly alcohol use among adolescents is related to less withdrawn behavior and more delinquent, aggressive behavior. Significant interactions between weekly alcohol use and age were found on both externalizing and internalizing problems, indicating a stronger association between weekly alcohol use and problems among younger adolescents. No interactions with gender were found.


Particularly at a young age, the weekly use of alcohol is associated with mental health problems. Regular alcohol use should alert parents and professionals that these adolescents might experience problems in other areas.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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