Original Quantitative Research – Age at First Alcohol Use Predicts Current Alcohol Use, Binge Drinking and Mixing of Alcohol with Energy Drinks among Ontario Grade 12 Students in the COMPASS Study
This study investigates the influence of age at first use of alcohol on current alcohol use and associated behaviours in a large sample of Canadian youth.
This descriptive-analytical study was conducted among Ontario Grade 12 students enrolled in the COMPASS Host Study between 2012 and 2017. The study used generalized estimating equations (GEE) modelling to determine associations between age at first alcohol use and likelihood of current versus non-current alcohol use, binge alcohol use and mixing of alcohol with energy drinks among respondents.
Students reporting an age at first alcohol use between ages 13 and 14 years were more likely to report current alcohol use versus non-current use (OR = 2.80, 95% CI: 2.26–3.45) and current binge alcohol use versus non-current binge alcohol use (OR = 3.22, 95% CI: 2.45–4.25) compared to students reporting first alcohol use at age 18 years or older. Students who started alcohol use at 8 years of age or younger were more likely to report current versus non-current alcohol use (OR = 3.54, 95% CI: 2.83–4.43), binge alcohol use (OR = 3.99, 95% CI: 2.97–5.37), and mixing of alcohol with energy drinks (OR = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.23–4.14), compared to students who started drinking at 18 years or older.
Starting to use alcohol in the early teen years predicted current alcohol use, current binge alcohol use and mixing of alcohol with energy drinks when students were in Grade 12. Findings indicate a need for development of novel alcohol prevention efforts.