Many environmental factors contribute to teens forming a positive attitude towards alcohol that contradict a parents’ decision to not provide alcohol. How much it costs, how easy they can get it, and if they know the law, can see adolescents wanting to drink alcohol sooner and in greater volume. Parents can influence if these factors make a small or large impact, by choosing not to provide alcohol.
There are many individual and external factors that can contribute to a teenagers’ decision to want to drink alcohol. This includes knowledge, attitudes, coping skills, a sense of self-worth and a need for achievement 1.
Other people, especially family members and peers, along with societal attitudes to alcohol, the price of alcohol products, and alcohol marketing can also influence if teenagers want to drink alcohol 2.
There are powerful forces that underpin harmful drinking cultures, such as the price, availability and promotion of alcohol products 3.
Younger people whose risk of alcohol-related harms is particularly high, are especially responsive to changes in alcohol prices and other changes to the environment. Increased alcohol prices have been shown to:
Price based strategies can be highly effective in reducing harm, as well as restrictions on hours and day of sale and enforcement of laws on youth drinking 5.
Promotion by alcohol manufacturers and retails, including their advertising campaigns, positions alcohol use as normal behaviour for both adults and young people 6. The content of their ads, where they are shown and how often they are seen can impact on attitudes and behaviours of teenagers towards alcohol. By forming a favourable attitude, alcohol promotion can increase the likelihood that adolescents will start to use alcohol, and to drink more if they already drink alcohol. 7.
The Alcohol Programs Team, Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA has a resource detailing the role of promotion on young people. Below is an excerpt from this brochure:
1Pettigrew, S., Pescud, M., Jarvis, W., & Webb, D. (2013). Teens' blog accounts of the role of adults in youth alcohol consumption. Journal of Social Marketing, 3(1), 28-40. doi:10.1108/20426761311297216
2 Pettigrew, S., Pescud, M., Jarvis, W., & Webb, D. (2013). Teens' blog accounts of the role of adults in youth alcohol consumption. Journal of Social Marketing, 3(1), 28-40. doi:10.1108/20426761311297216
3 Preventative Health Taskforce (2009). Preventing alcohol-related harm in Australia: technical report 3. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/preventativehealth/publishing.nsf/content/09C94C0F1B9799F5CA2574DD0081E770/$File/alcohol-jul09.pdf0
4Commonwealth of Australia. (2008). Standing Commitee on Community Affairs. Ready-to-drink alcohol beverages. (ISBN 978-0-642-71932-4).
5 Toumbourou, J. W., Stockwell, T., Neighbors, C., Marlatt, G. A., & al, e. (2007). Interventions to reduce harm associated with adolescent substance use. The Lancet, 369(9570), 1391.
6 Chainey, T. A., & Stephens, C. (2016). ‘Let’s get wasted’: A discourse analysis of teenagers’ talk about binge drinking. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(5), 628-639. doi:10.1177/1359105314532972
7Curtin University. (2017) McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth - Alcohol Advertising and Young People. Retrieved from
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