Adolescent alcohol use: risks and consequences

Alcohol Alcohol. 2014 Mar-Apr;49(2):160-4. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agt180. Epub 2014 Jan 8.


Aims: The aim of the study was to summarize results of recent epidemiological research on adolescent alcohol use and its consequences, to outline the risk factors for drinking in adolescents and to consider effective treatment and preventative interventions.

Methods: A literature review of relevant studies on adolescent alcohol use.

Results: Alcohol use and other risk-taking behaviours such as smoking, substance use and risky sexual behaviour emerge in adolescence and tend to cluster together. Heavy alcohol consumption in late adolescence appears to persist into adulthood and is associated with alcohol problems, including dependence, premature death and diminished work capacity. Early identification of adolescent risk factors may be helpful in preventing and/or attenuating risk.

Conclusion: There is a need for high-quality long-term prospective cohort studies to investigate the long-term consequences of adolescent drinking and further work is needed to identify the most effective intervention strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*