Developmental Hazards Among Young Alcohol Intoxicated Patients

J Adolesc Health. 2016 Jul;59(1):87-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.03.022. Epub 2016 May 13.


Purpose: The rising numbers of alcohol intoxicated adolescents (AIA) treated in emergency care units in several European countries have drawn attention to this target group for prevention. To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess a broad array of developmental hazards and their stability in AIA and to compare their distribution with representative samples (RS).

Methods: A multisite cohort study of AIA aged 13-17 years assessed, in the hospital (t0) and 6 months later (t1), (family) violence, cannabis and alcohol use, school problems, delinquency, homelessness, depression, and suicidality, using items from representative German surveys: Children and Adolescent Health Survey (KiGGS), Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and Communities That Care Youth Survey. We calculated the differences between AIA and RS and corresponding 95% confidence intervals. For AIA respondents who completed t0 and t1 information, we calculated prevalence/persistence/incidence of developmental hazards and corresponding 95% confidence interval.

Results: A total of 342 AIA participated at t0, 228 at t1 (67%). AIA had a significantly higher burden of concomitant risks regarding physical and emotional family abuse, (sexual) victimization, cannabis use, binge drinking, school expulsion, police arrest, gang membership, and being violent. Six months after hospitalization, emotional family abuse (34.1%), cannabis use (23.5%), depression (14.8%), and being violent (13.2%) were especially prevalent.

Conclusions: Developmental hazards are up to six times more prevalent in AIA than in RS. Therefore, when assessing the risk profile of AIA, it is important to consider developmental hazards as well as detrimental alcohol use.

Keywords: Acute alcohol intoxication; Adolescents; CTC; CTQ; Developmental hazards; KiGGS.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / etiology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / prevention & control
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Depression / psychology
  • Domestic Violence / psychology
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Relations / psychology*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Underage Drinking / prevention & control
  • Underage Drinking / psychology*