NDARC Technical Report No. 340
Alcohol use is currently the leading cause of preventable disease burden for young people, both in Australia and internationally. In 2016, 10% of 12- to 15-year-old Australians had consumed a full serve of alcohol in the past year, increasing to 45% of 16- to 17-year-olds. Cross-sectional and prospective studies suggest that early age of initiation is associated with later drinking problems; yet other research has shown that these impacts are limited to adolescence, or that the relationship disappears once genetic or child, parent and contextual factors are considered.
One of the main suppliers of alcohol to adolescents are their parents, with 32% of 12- to 17-year-olds reporting that their parents were their usual alcohol supplier in 2016. Parental supply of alcohol is second only to peer supply and has been associated with heavier drinking in adolescents even when taking into account the prevalence of peer supply. Despite the aforementioned risks of early introduction to alcohol, the associations between parental alcohol supply in early-mid adolescent years and early adult drinking remain poorly researched.