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Home > Perspectives on adolescent alcohol use and consideration of future consequences: results from a qualitative study.

Harvey, Seamus A and McKay, Michael T (2017) Perspectives on adolescent alcohol use and consideration of future consequences: results from a qualitative study. Child Care in Practice, 23, (1), pp. 104-120.


Consideration of future consequences (CFC) is described as the attention that individuals pay to the potential outcomes of their behaviour, and how their behaviour is affected as a result of attention to these outcomes. Greater CFC has been associated with less alcohol use, thus indicating its potential utility in health-promotion initiatives. A focus group methodology was employed with 13–14 year olds (N = 129) in 16 high schools in Northern Ireland and Scotland to attain their thoughts on how adolescents in general consider the future consequences of alcohol consumption; and to provide some clarity on the nature of CFC and whether it is singular or dichotomous in nature (i.e. do individuals distinguish between immediate and long-term consequences and are they influenced by these in different ways). The participants indicated that the majority of adolescents do not consider the consequences of alcohol consumption at all; while to a lesser extent, some adolescents consider the consequences but ignore them. If adolescents do refrain from alcohol, immediate consequences are more influential in their decision-making than long-term consequences. These findings should help to inform and guide the development and delivery of health-promotion initiatives, and provide some clarity about the nature of CFC and the manner in which the construct should be examined or utilised during future research.

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