Adolescent Alcohol Consumption in Romania: A Blueprint for Measuring Alcohol (mis)Use (English version)
In order to address the issues of adolescent alcohol (mis)use in Romanian cities and to develop local alcohol prevention policies comprised of interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol related problems, information on the prevalence of alcohol use and relevant related topics is needed. This approach was pre-tested in the city of Pitesti, (within the first Romanian local alcohol policy project; DRAIN), but can be used in other Romanian cities or research projects as well. For this study we have constructed a compact questionnaire and easy to execute data collection method, that can be used and analysed by (for example) local universities in collaboration with their local council. We selected relevant questions from the international, and validated, ESPAD questionnaire 2003 and added specific Romanian and local topics. A stratified sample of 1,500 students was drawn, 50 classes in total and 3 classes per school (assuming that each class contains about 30 students), using type of school, grade and path as stratifyers. A total of 1,026 questionnaires were used for data analysis. Pitesti’s youth generally starts drinking at a young age and many of them are currently regular drinkers. This pattern is worrisome, since early onset of drinking and regular drinking as a teenager increases the chances of developing health risks and an addiction to alcohol later in life. This study supports the theory that peers influence teen drinking and also shows that the norms of parents are (too) liberal. Compared to Romanian youth, Pite[ti’s youth tends to drink a bit more. Parents should set the norm of ‘no alcohol until the (legal) age of 18’ for their children. Also no alcohol should be sold to or bought for adolescents under the age of 18 and no alcohol outlets should exist within 200 metres of high schools, as Romanian alcohol legislation stipulates. Within the alcohol prevention project DRAIN, the results of this questionnaire were used to develop ‘tailor-made’ alcohol legislation.
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