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J Health Psychol. 2010 May;15(4):526-32. doi: 10.1177/1359105309355337.

Alcohol and tobacco use during adolescence: the importance of the family mealtime environment.

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Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS, UK.


Despite evidence that frequent family meals are associated with low levels of substance use during adolescence, prior studies have not examined the role of how adolescents perceive mealtimes. We examined family meal frequency, family connectedness, perceived priority, atmosphere and structure of mealtimes as predictors of alcohol and tobacco consumption, using data from 550 adolescents (50% boys; age range 11-16). Frequent family meals were significantly associated with a lower likelihood of alcohol and tobacco use. However, this association was explained by adolescents' perception of the atmosphere at mealtimes. These findings suggest adolescents' perception of the mealtime environment contributes to family meals' protective effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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