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Parental alcohol misuse and hazardous drinking among offspring in a general teenage population: gender-specific findings from the Young-HUNT 3 study

06 Dec 2013

Background:
Parental alcohol misuse may negatively affect drinking behaviours among offspring, but it is unclear to what extent influences are gender-specific and dependent upon the actual drinking behaviour measured. The aim of this study was to investigate whether hazardous drinking among Norwegian teenage boys (N = 2538) and girls (N = 2494) was associated with paternal and maternal alcohol misuse (CAGE).
Methods:
Definitions of hazardous drinking among offspring were based on self-reported alcohol consumption (in litres a year), frequency of drinking, and frequency of drunkenness. Based on this information, two composite measures of hazardous drinking were also constructed. Cross-sectional data from the Norwegian Young-HUNT 3 survey (2006--2008) were linked to information from biological parents who participated in the adult part of the HUNT study.
Results:
Logistic regression analyses showed that both boys and girls with alcohol misusing fathers were more likely to report high levels of alcohol intake compared to others of the same age and gender. This was contrary to boys with misusing mothers, who reported less alcohol consumption than other boys. Among girls, but not boys, high frequency of drunkenness was associated with maternal as well as paternal misuse.
Conclusions:
This study suggests that adolescent hazardous drinking is more prevalent among boys and girls with alcohol misusing parents versus those whose parents do not misuse alcohol. However, findings were gender specific and varied depending on the drinking outcomes under investigation. More evidence-based knowledge in this field is of great importance for better understanding the possible role paternal and maternal alcohol misuse may play in the development of hazardous alcohol drinking patterns among adolescent boys and girls.

Date: 
6 December 2013

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