Alcohol, binge drinking and associated mental health problems in young urban Chileans

Amanda J Mason-Jones, Báltica Cabieses

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To explore the link between alcohol use, binge drinking and mental health problems in a representative sample of adolescent and young adult Chileans.

METHODS: Age and sex-adjusted Odds Ratios (OR) for four mental wellbeing measures were estimated with separate conditional logistic regression models for adolescents aged 15-20 years, and young adults aged 21-25 years, using population-based estimates of alcohol use prevalence rates from the Chilean National Health Survey 2010.

RESULTS: Sixty five per cent of adolescents and 85% of young adults reported drinking alcohol in the last year and of those 83% per cent of adolescents and 86% of young adults reported binge drinking in the previous month. Adolescents who reported binging alcohol were also more likely, compared to young adults, to report being always or almost always depressed (OR 12.97 [95% CI, 1.86-19.54]) or to feel very anxious in the last month (OR 9.37 [1.77-19.54]). Adolescent females were more likely to report poor life satisfaction in the previous year than adolescent males (OR 8.50 [1.61-15.78]), feel always or almost always depressed (OR 3.41 [1.25-9.58]). Being female was also associated with a self-reported diagnosis of depression for both age groups (adolescents, OR 4.74 [1.49-15.08] and young adults, OR 4.08 [1.65-10.05]).

CONCLUSION: Young people in Chile self-report a high prevalence of alcohol use, binge drinking and associated mental health problems. The harms associated with alcohol consumption need to be highlighted through evidence-based prevention programs. Health and education systems need to be strengthened to screen and support young people. Focussing on policy initiatives to limit beverage companies targeting alcohol to young people will also be needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0121116
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

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