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Home > Teenage thinking on teenage drinking: 15 to 16-year olds' experiences of alcohol in Northern Ireland.

McKay, Michael T and Cole, Jon C and Sumnall, Harry (2011) Teenage thinking on teenage drinking: 15 to 16-year olds' experiences of alcohol in Northern Ireland. Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy , 18 , (5) , pp. 323-332.

Focus groups were conducted with 15- to 16-year olds in Northern Ireland looking at reasons for alcohol consumption and reflections on specific attitudes towards alcohol and behaviours resulting from alcohol use. Participants reported greater concern with ‘being caught’ drinking by parents than with any negative short- or long-term health impact from alcohol use. The results would also suggest that once initiated, young people are unlikely to stop drinking and therefore are in need of harm reduction advice and skills. Participants reported a desire to engage meaningfully with school teachers and parents concerning their use of alcohol; however, fear of being labelled as problematic by teachers and fear of disappointing their parents means that they would be more likely to keep their drinking secretive. Participants repeatedly reported that intoxication (or consumption of alcohol, more broadly) could be used to excuse both risky and illegal behaviours. Interventions with young drinkers might look to address some of the harms and attitudes discussed.


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