Introduction: Alcohol is most abused psychoactive substance among youth. Analyzing attitudes on alcohol, patterns and consequences we are getting inputs important for implementing evidence based preventive measures.
Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze drinking patterns and expectations and alcohol risk perception by gender and region and determine correlation between attitudes and one year prevalence of drinking.
Methods: The study used data from the European School Survey on Alcohol and Other Drugs, which was then conducted in 2008 in Serbia on a sample of 6,553 students aged 16 years. For data analysis descriptive and analytical statistic were used.
Results: The results show that nine out often students have had at least one alcoholic beverage during life and 5% have at least one alcohol beverage on more than 20 occasions during the last month. Students in Serbia have mainly positive expectations from alcohol, and the strongest potential drinking predictors in the previous year are expectation of having fun and the wish to feel relaxed. According to the participants, drinking 4-5 drinks on weekends (34.6%) is less risky than trying cannabis (52.0%). Boys have experienced problems caused by alcohol drinking more often than girls, while students from Vojvodina have performed badly in school in higher percentage than students from Belgrade and Central Serbia.
Conclusion: In Serbia, girls drink less and perceive drinking as more risky in comparison to boys, while 16-year-old students from Vojvodina have more positive expectations but also more prominent problems caused by alcohol drinking. Additional education of the young on alcohol risk is recommended.