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Home > Is peer connectedness encouraging earlier initiation alcohol use among Irish children?

Kit, Kristina (2021) Is peer connectedness encouraging earlier initiation alcohol use among Irish children? Dublin: Alcohol Action Ireland.

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Introduction

Childhood initiation with alcohol is persistently at unsustainably high levels in Ireland, with alcohol use among young people increasing by 79% from the ages of 12 to 18. In light of this, the paper will examine how peer connectedness influences childhood drinking and becomes the third pillar of an alcogenic environment that children must navigate every day, uniting with other omnipresent motivational factors of invasive marketing and ubiquitous alcohol use within family settings.

 

Methods

Drawing on previous research, this paper will explore in depth the link between peer connectedness and alcohol, as well as how this connection affects and encourages alcohol use among children. The Irish findings will then be related to European School Research on Alcohol and Other Drugs to be analysed in contrast to other European countries.

 

Results

The analysis of available data reveals a significant association between lifetime alcohol consumption and peer drunkenness. Furthermore, peers serve as a source of alcohol for 30% of young people, as well as prompt their drinking motivation. This has only increased with the rise of social media and its persuasive nature. Compared to other European countries from the ESPAD research, Ireland is found as an outlier with a pronounced characteristic within this realm.

 

Conclusion

With these results, the research will aim to establish the impact of peer connectedness, its dominant role in sustaining early initiation of alcohol use and the need to fashion specific interventions to address its efficacy.

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