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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 Nov 1;204:107529. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.06.031. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Parental supply of alcohol as a predictor of adolescent alcohol consumption patterns: A prospective cohort.

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National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. Electronic address:
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
Discipline of Paediatrics, School of Women's & Children's Health, UNSW, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia; Deakin University Geelong, Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, School of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Geelong, Victoria 3220, Australia; The University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia; Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia; Royal Children's Hospital, Centre for Adolescent Health, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.
Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia.
The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
School of Psychology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7000, Australia.
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia.
School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW 2308, Australia.



Recent research has not supported the idea that parental supply of alcohol to adolescents prevents later alcohol-related harm. Yet the specific role of parental supply in shaping patterns of drinking over time remains unclear. This study investigated the role of parental supply of alcohol in patterns of drinking across adolescence, and assessed whether that role remained consistent over time.


Using a longitudinal cohort of 1927 adolescents (mean age 12.9 years), recruited in 2010 and 2011 from schools across Australia and followed up annually until 2016, we assessed three outcomes using mixed-effect negative binomial regression: frequency of consumption, typical quantity consumed, and overall alcohol consumption in the year (frequency * quantity). Child, parental, familial, and peer confounders of adolescent alcohol consumption were measured and adjusted for in the analyses.


Parental supply was associated with greater overall consumption in earlier adolescence: Grade 7-8 (incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 3.61; 95% CI: 2.55, 5.12; no supply IRR: 1.00), Grade 8-9 (IRR: 4.84; 95% CI: 3.66, 6.39; no supply IRR: 1.44) and Grade 9-10 (IRR: 8.33; 95% CI: 6.28, 11.05; no supply IRR: 4.75). Alcohol consumption continued to increase in later adolescence regardless of whether parental supply occurred.


Parental supply of alcohol was associated with increased alcohol consumption by their children during early adolescence. While parental supply appears to have less impact on drinking in later adolescence, there was no evidence to suggest it is protective. Parents should be advised to avoid supplying children with alcohol, particularly in early adolescence.


Adolescent; Alcohol; Cohort study; Drinking; Epidemiology; Longitudinal study

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