Drunkenness Up Among Eastern European Teens:
MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In the past, Eastern European
adolescents experienced less drunkenness compared with their
Western counterpartsm, but new Swiss research suggests these
differences have become less relevant over the past decade.
The result: the frequency of drunkenness has primarily declined
across the West, just as the East experiences an upsurge, according
to the report released online Oct. 4 in advance of publication in
the February print issue of the
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
"While alcohol consumption might have appeared to be part of a new and attractive lifestyle element to adolescents in Eastern Europe, during the same period alcohol consumption and drunkenness may have lost some of their appeal to a formerly high-consuming group, [primarily] boys in Western Europe and North America," the study authors, led by Emmanuel Kuntsche of Addiction Info Switzerland at the Research Institute in Lausanne, noted in a news release from the journal's publisher.
The observations are gleaned from an analysis of survey data
from 1997-1998 and 2005-2006 that concerned nearly 78,000 boys and
girls, aged 15 years, residing in seven Eastern European and 16
Overall, the research team found that 15-year-olds have gotten
drunk two to three times, on average.
But during the study period, the average frequency of
drunkenness rose by 40 percent among all the Eastern European
countries, with an increase in girls leading the way. By contrast,
13 of the 16 Western countries experienced a decline of, on
average, 25 percent in the same time frame, most significantly
In the West, the biggest declines were found in North America,
Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Ireland, the results
What accounts for the inverse trends? The research team
theorized that the dramatic changes that have taken place in
Eastern nations are related to socioeconomic conditions, as well as
development of new advertising norms and exposure.
"With the opening of borders and markets of the formerly planned-economy societies, Eastern European countries increasingly became confronted with contemporary global alcohol marketing strategies that target particularly young people," the authors wrote.
For more on teens and alcohol, visit the
American Academy of Family Physicians.
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