Drinking is the number one drug of choice among the 30% of youth aged 12-16 who reported using any substances in the NHANES III. Twenty six percent of all children in the US drink exclusively or in combination with other drugs. Previous work with this age group indicates that alcohol has an adverse effect on both depression and blood pressure. These findings are unsettling if one considers the effect of adding these and other potentially life-threatening conditions to the documented immediate effects of drinking on sexual behavior and injuries.
This study employs NHANES III Household Youth data to examine the effects of drinking among youth on the frequency of conditions that are precursors to serious health problems. Youth who drink, in contrast to those who abstain, are more likely to report having headaches and stomachaches on a regular basis, as well as having asthma, and anemia. They are also more likely than abstainers to report problems serious enough to warrant psychological care, and twice as many took medications for behavioral problems. Girls who drink are more likely to use birth control pills and to have been pregnant than their abstaining counterparts. A multivariate model will be employed to explicate how these conditions relate to drinking while controlling for use of other drugs and important demographic and medical covariates. These findings have important implications to the Substance Abuse field in terms of support for both primary and secondary alcohol prevention programs as well as increased treatment options for adolescents.
Keywords: Adolescent Health, Alcohol Use
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA