Teenage drinking research presented at health transition conference

New research looking at the drinking habits of young people in a family context is being presented at a conference looking at health transitions through the lifecourse today.

The research, making use of Understanding Society," shows that one in ten teenagers has been involved in binge drinking in the last month and that girls are more likely to binge drink than boys, that teenagers who binge drink are more likely to have parents who drink heavily and that middle class parents drink alcohol more frequently than poorer parents.

ISER’s Dr Cara Booker is presenting her research at the Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies International Conference, Growing Up and Growing Old: Health Transitions Throughout the Lifecourse.

Using information provided by nearly 5,000 young people and their parents who take part in Understanding Society, she found:

  • 12% of girls and 8% of boys admitted binge drinking in the last month
  • Over one in four 16 year-olds compared with one per cent of ten year-olds admitted binge drinking in the last month, showing a marked increase in binge drinking over the teenaged years
  • Young people whose parents drank weekly nearly three times as likely to report binge drinking in the past month compared to youth whose parents did not drink in the past 12 months
  • Young people living in England (10%) and Wales (14%) were more likely to report binge drinking at least once in the past month compared to young people in Scotland (7%) and Northern Ireland (6%)

Participants in the survey were asked questions about their drinking behaviour in recent weeks and months including how often they had drunk in the last month and the number of times they had drunk five or more drinks in the past month, a measure of binge drinking.

Among parents, who were asked about frequency of drinking in the past 12 months and maximum daily alcohol consumption in past seven days, fathers were more likely to drink alcohol weekly, 63%, than mothers, 47%. Mothers were also more likely than fathers to report drinking less than monthly, or not drinking in the past 12 months.

When asked about the frequency of their drinking, heavy drinkers were much more likely to also drink weekly, 85 per cent compared to regular, 60 per cent, and light drinkers, 15 per cent.

Children of parents who drank weekly over the previous 12 months were three times more likely to have binge drunk at least once in the past month.

Photo credit: AdamCohn


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest