Fear of missing out and binge-drinking among adolescents

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2022 Jan;41(1):230-237. doi: 10.1111/dar.13356. Epub 2021 Jul 25.


Introduction: No previous studies have examined the cross-sectional association between fear of missing out (FOMO) and binge-drinking among adolescents. The aim of the present study was: (i) to estimate the magnitude of this association; (ii) to assess the impact of potential confounders (i.e. sensation-seeking, symptoms of depression and self-regulation); and (iii) determine if it is uniform across all levels of these characteristics.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of adolescents from 33 middle schools in Norway, stratified according to geographic location, urban and rural locations, and standard of living. Participants were a nation-wide sample of N = 2646 adolescents (mean age 16.2 years, 43% boys). Self-report data were collected on binge-drinking, FOMO, sensation-seeking, symptoms of depression and self-regulation.

Results: Overall, 21% reported binge-drinking ≤ once per month in the past 12 months, while 9% reported binge-drinking more than once per month. Multinomial logistic regression showed that the crude effect, where greater FOMO was associated with greater risk of binge-drinking, was substantial (relative-risk ratio = 1.50 [1.35, 1.66], P < 0.001), but somewhat attenuated after including all potential confounders (relative-risk ratio = 1.28 [1.14, 1.43], P < 0.001). Effect modification analyses showed that the effect of FOMO on binge-drinking ≤ once per month was stronger for adolescents with low symptom levels of depression and weaker for adolescents at high levels of depression.

Discussion and conclusion: Norwegian adolescents with higher FOMO have greater risk of binge-drinking.

Keywords: FOMO; adolescence; alcohol; fear of missing out; youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Binge Drinking* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethanol
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Schools


  • Ethanol