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Alcohol Use Among Australian Secondary Students in 1996

NCJ Number
Drug and Alcohol Review Volume: 19 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2000 Pages: 371-379
Victoria M. White; David J. Hill; Tessa R. Letcher
Date Published
December 2000
This research estimates the prevalence of alcohol use among Australian secondary students in 1996 and examines trends in alcohol use in this population over a 12-year period.
A national randomly selected representative sample of 434 secondary schools participated in the 1996 study. Eighty students were randomly selected from each school, and they completed a questionnaire anonymously. Current drinking (drinking an alcoholic beverage in the week before the survey) increased with age from 17 percent of boys and 10 percent of girls aged 12 to 56 percent of boys and 50 percent of girls aged 17. Comparisons with data collected by similar surveys in 1984, 1987, 1990, and 1993 showed that although fewer 12-15-year-olds were current drinkers in 1996 than in 1984 or 1987, the 1996 proportion was no different from the 1993 proportion. In 1996 there were more hazardous drinkers among male current drinkers aged 12-15 than in any other survey period. Among 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds there were more current drinkers in 1996 than in 1993 or 1990, and more male and female current drinkers were drinking at hazardous levels in 1996 than in 1987 and 1990. Extrapolating from the 1996 findings, it is estimated that nearly 424,000 students aged 12-17 years old were current drinkers. 4 tables and 12 references