Is Drinking Contagious? An Analysis of the Collectivity of Drinking Behavior Theory Within a Multilevel Framework
To analyze the effect of behavioral contagion regarding problematic adolescent alcohol use among countries with varying prevalence of problematic alcohol consumption.
Nested data from 48,215 12 to 16-year olds from seventh to ninth grade of 25 European countries (48.5% male, M = 13.83 years) were studied using hierarchical general linear modeling sequences.
Finally, an intercept-as-outcome model was built to test the main hypothesis.
Multilevel analyses validated the significant effects of the individual risk factors of being older (OR = 2.02), being male (OR = 1.41) and being native born (OR = 1.32) on becoming a problematic alcohol user. Regarding the aggregated country-level predictor ‘proportion of problematic alcohol users’, the effect of behavioral contagion was also confirmed (OR = 1.05).
The contagion effect regarding alcohol use behavior calls for a focus on environmental prevention efforts.
By decreasing the public acceptance of (adolescent) alcohol use, the average proportion of problematic adolescent alcohol users in European countries may be reduced.