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Swiss Med Wkly. 2014 Sep 3;144:w14007. doi: 10.4414/smw.2014.14007. eCollection 2014.

Excessive alcohol consumption in young men: is there an association with their earlier family situation? A baseline-analysis of the C-SURF-study (Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors).

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Division of General Internal Medicine, Bern University Hospital and University of Bern, Switzerland.
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland.
Alcohol Treatment Centre, Department of Community Medicine and Health, Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland.



To determine whether parental factors earlier in life (parenting, single parent family, parental substance use problem) are associated with patterns of alcohol consumption among young men in Switzerland.


This analysis of a population based sample from the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF) included 5,990 young men (mean age 19.51 years), all attending a mandatory recruitment process for the army. These conscripts reported on parental monitoring and rule-setting, parental behaviour and family structure. The alcohol use pattern was assessed through abstention, risky single occasion drinking (RSOD), volume drinking and dependence. Furthermore, the impact of age, family socio-economic status, educational level of the parents, language region and civil status was analysed.


A parental substance use problem was positively associated with volume drinking and alcohol dependence in young Swiss men. Active parenting corresponded negatively with RSOD, volume drinking and alcohol dependence. Single parent family was not associated with a different alcohol consumption pattern compared to standard family.


Parental influences earlier in life such as active parenting (monitoring, rule-setting and knowing the whereabouts) and perceived parental substance use problem are associated with alcohol drinking behaviour in young male adults. Therefore, health professionals should stress the importance of active parenting and parental substance use prevention in alcohol prevention strategies.

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