Date: embargoed until 12:00:00 AM Tuesday, 15 November 2011
School leaver celebrations: Research finds parents influence their child's alcohol use at 'schoolies'
Parents' attitudes towards alcohol use, whether they supply alcohol to their child, and if they talk to their child about ways to stay safe can all have a big influence on how much young people drink at school leaver celebrations.
According to preliminary findings of a study conducted by the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI), children whose parents had permissive attitudes towards their child's drinking were more likely to drink heavily at leaver celebrations. Leavers who had obtained alcohol from their parents were also likely to drink at risky levels.
On the other hand the survey, which examined alcohol use at leaver celebrations on Rottnest Island off Perth, revealed that children whose parents discussed strategies to keep safe drank less at leavers.
"These preliminary findings show that despite not actually being at leavers, parents continue to influence their child's alcohol use at the event," NDRI Director Professor Steve Allsop said.
"Parents' attitudes towards alcohol consumption at leavers, outlining their expectations to their child and discussing ways to reduce the risk - such as having a plan before they go, knowing where to seek help and looking after their friends - all contributed to reducing the amount of alcohol consumed at risky levels by leavers.
"It is also worth considering the difficult question of whether to buy alcohol for your child to take to leavers, particularly given that this study showed the majority of leavers who obtained alcohol from their parents drank at risky levels."
NDRI is based at Curtin University in Perth. Sponsored by the Department for Communities-Youth, the study into alcohol use at school leaver celebrations is expected to be completed in mid-2012.
Parents can find more information about talking to their children at official leaver websites, such as www.leaverswa.com.au, and can access general drug and alcohol information from the Parent Drug Information Service on (08) 9442 5050 or 1800 653 203
Professor Steve Allsop
Director, National Drug Research Institute
Phone: 61 (0)8 9266 1600
Mobile: 0407 967 964
Communications Officer, National Drug Research Institute
Phone: 61 (0)8 9266 1627
Mobile: 0414 682 055