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Am J Prev Med. 2009 Mar;36(3):218-24. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.10.018.

State alcohol-use estimates among youth and adults, 1993-2005.

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  • 1Alcohol Team, Emerging Investigations and Analytic Methods Branch, Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



Underage drinking, particularly binge drinking, is an important public health problem that results in substantial premature mortality and morbidity. Little is known about the potential influence of the alcohol-use behaviors of adults on youth alcohol use at a population level. The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation of alcohol-use behaviors among youth with those of adults at a population level.


Data were analyzed in 2007 and 2008, using biennial 1993-2005 data from state school-based Youth Risk Behavior Surveys of students in grades 9-12, and from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for adults aged >or=18 years. Pearson correlation coefficients (r) were used to compare state prevalence estimates for youth with those of adults for several alcohol-use measures.


Overall and subgroup-specific state youth estimates of current drinking and binge drinking were generally moderately to strongly correlated with adult alcohol use (range of r -values for pooled estimates across all years: 0.35-0.68 for current drinking [p<0.01 for all correlations]; 0.24-0.60 for binge drinking [p<0.01 for all correlations]) and with youth and adult drinking-and-driving behaviors (range of r-values for pooled estimates: 0.12-0.52, p<0.01 for all but one correlation). Correlation coefficients were generally higher for girls with women and for youth with younger adults aged 18-34 years. The use of alcohol by youth before they were aged 13 years was not correlated with adult alcohol-use measures, and most youth alcohol-use measures were not correlated with adult heavy-alcohol use.


Most state youth alcohol-use estimates were correlated with state adult estimates. These findings have implications for underage-drinking control strategies and suggest that efforts to address this problem need to be targeted on a broader societal level.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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