How Does Parental Supply of Alcohol Affect Risk of Alcohol‐Related Harms in Early Adulthood?

There is evidence to suggest that adolescents who receive alcohol from their parents are at higher risk of developing harmful drinking patterns later on in life.

Despite the concerning link, the knowledge around this subject remains unclear. 

A recent study in Australia has sought to gain a more reliable understanding of the issue through analysing longitudinal data.

The researchers collected information from 1906 school children recruited in the first year of secondary school. The researchers were particularly interested in asking the children whether their parents gave, or allowed them to have alcohol, and how much.

Outcome variables were self‐reported binge drinking, alcohol‐related harm, and symptoms of alcohol use disorder.

The results from the study found that:

  • Parental supply of alcohol across adolescence saw a greater risk of binge drinking and alcohol‐related harms in the year following the exposure period compared with no supply in adolescence. 
  • Earlier initiation of parental supply also increased risk of binge drinking and any alcohol‐related harm
  • There is no evidence to suggest that parental supply of alcohol acted as a protective factor for any of the adult harms examined

The authors conclude that parents should avoid supplying alcohol to their teenagers. It is important that parents do have open and informed discussions with their children about the potential harm alcohol can cause.

Clare, P. J., Dobbins, T., Bruno, R., Peacock, A., Boland, V., Yuen, W. S., Aiken, A., Degenhardt, L., Kypri, K., Slade, T., Hutchinson, D., Najman, J. M., McBride, N., Horwood, J., McCambridge, J., and Mattick, R. P. ( 2020) The overall effect of parental supply of alcohol across adolescence on alcohol‐related harms in early adulthood – a prospective cohort study. Addiction,