Are changes in attitudes towards school associated with declining youth drinking? A multi-level analysis of 37 countries
BACKGROUND: Changes in adolescents' attitudes towards school are a potential explanation for recent declines in young people's alcohol consumption. However, this has not been tested using multi-national survey data, which would permit stronger causal inferences by ruling out other country-specific explanations. This study, therefore, uses an international survey of schoolchildren to examine the associations between changing attitudes towards school and adolescent alcohol consumption. METHODS:
... used data from 247 325 15-year-olds across 37 countries participating in four waves of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study (2001/02-2013/14). Attitudes towards school were assessed using two measures-self-reported pressure from schoolwork and whether respondents like school. Outcome measures were weekly alcohol consumption and having been drunk twice in one's lifetime. We used whole population and gender-specific hierarchical linear probability models to assess the relationship between attitudes and alcohol outcomes within countries over time. RESULTS: Country-level changes over time in liking school were not associated with changes in alcohol consumption. However, a 10% increase in feeling pressured by schoolwork was associated with a 1.8% decline in drunkenness [95% confidence interval (CI): -3.2% to -0.3%] and weakly associated with a 1.7% decline in weekly drinking (95% CI: -3.6% to 0.2%). Among girls only, increases in feeling pressured by schoolwork were associated with a 2.1% decline in weekly drinking (95% CI: -3.7% to -0.6%) and a 2.4% decline in drunkenness (95% CI: -3.8% to -1.1%). CONCLUSION: Changes in attitudes towards school may have played a minor role in the decline in alcohol consumption among adolescent girls only.