UNDERAGE DRINKING: HARMFUL BEHAVIOUR OR A TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD?
Keywords:Underage drinking, health outcomes, drinking culture, and youth culture.
AbstractThe author suggests the concept of ‘underage drinking’ is a social construct which at the discursive level pathologises young people as deviant even though the societal context in which it takes place established alcohol consumption as normative in Western, non- Muslim, cultures associated with alcohol use. The case is made for differentiating between levels of risk in order to more effectively target interventions to young people most likely to develop harmful drinking behaviours.Multiple electronic databases were searched to identify trajectory studies examining the risk for adverse health and social outcomes of underage consumption of alcohol published within the last 10 years. Trajectory studies report the majority of adolescents drink in moderation and develop into moderately drinking adults. However, the context of drinking is an influencing factor as to the outcomes of drinking behaviour with high levels of drunkenness more likely to lead to poor health and social outcomes.There is a role for health professionals to support the agency of young people and work together to provide support and education to reduce the risk of maladaptive drinking behaviours, whilst understanding the social consumption of alcohol in the transition to adulthood.
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