Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Impact of Family Level Factors on Alcohol Drinking in Primary School Children

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Impact of Family Level Factors on Alcohol Drinking in Primary School Children

Article excerpt

SUMMARY

Objective: The aim of our study was to identify and analyze selected factors influencing alcohol use among primary school children aged 8 to 15 years in the academic year 2009/10.

Methods: The sample consisted of children from 28 primary schools. Data of this cross-sectional study were collected using questionnaires. Chi-Square test was used to test differences in proportions of observed phenomena between boys and girls. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the influence of selected factors on the variable "child's alcohol drinking per week".

Results: The sample consisted of 2,494 respondents (52% of boys, 48% of girls). In the study group 78% of all respondents (95% Cl=76-80) drank alcohol infrequently (less than once a week) or did not drink alcohol at all, and 22% of respondents (95% Cl=20-24) drank alcohol at least once a week.

More boys than girls considered alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine and spirit as quite easily available. We performed the model of multivariate logistic regression analysis using the independent variables: age of respondents, gender of respondents, mother's alcohol drinking, father's alcohol drinking, sibling's alcohol drinking, parental rules, parental control, and mental support from parents (if their children have problems) to identify their effect on the dependent variable - child's alcohol drinking per week. We found out that mother's alcohol drinking and a lack of mental support from parents did not have a statistically significant influence on child's alcohol drinking per week.

Conclusion: The results of our study point to the fact that it is necessary to focus on the prevention of alcohol drinking in general and among school children in particular. We recommend greater control of the sale of alcoholic beverages, so as to prevent the purchase by people under 18 years of age.

Key words: alcohol drinking, primary school children, risk factors, parents, alcoholic beverages, public health

INTRODUCTION

In recent decades, many social, political and economic changes have taken place facilitating implementation of interventions in the field of medicine and public health. They caused the change of the profile of young people's health throughout the world. At the forefront of negative social, behavioural and environmental factors hazardous to health are smoking, alcohol consumption and drug use (1). The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that alcohol drinking among young people is now becoming a growing public health problem in many countries. Its harmful effect - mainly the loss of self-control increases the risk of accidents (including traffic), violence (domestic violence) and early death (2). Nowadays, children are exposed to drugs at a younger age and the prevention should therefore start in the primary school (3). Children are interested especially in drugs that are easily accessible to them - financially, culturally or otherwise - such as alcohol, tobacco or medicaments. Alcohol occupies the prominent position amongst psychoactive substances with milder effects compared to other drugs. The addiction develops gradually, but its excessive consumption tends to be more dangerous than "hard drugs" (4). In Slovakia, the surveys about drug use in children are predominantly carried out in schools, due to the fact that the school survey is a key indicator usually investigated at the national level in all European Union Member States (5). The results of the Slovak survey 1 TAD - Tobacco, Alcohol, Drugs in children aged 11 to 14 years showed that in comparison with the 1994 figures, there was a decrease in the percentage of excessive drinkers in the family, nevertheless, since 2002 it has still represented about one fifth of adults. Consumption of beer and wine remained at about the same level, but the consumption of spirits has increased (6). Youths, therefore, rank amongst the most vulnerable population with regard to protection against drugs and drug abuse. …

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