Anxiety and depression symptoms and alcohol use among adolescents - a cross sectional study of Norwegian secondary school students
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Public Health. 2017, 17 (494), . 10.1186/s12889-017-4389-2
Background We investigated the associations between symptoms of anxiety and depression and alcohol drinking behavior among adolescents, by focusing on the importance of symptom load, as well as gender differences. Methods Data was derived from a cross-sectional school based survey among adolescents in upper secondary schools in Norway. Among other variables adolescents reported on symptoms of anxiety and depression, time of onset and extent of alcohol use. The sample consisted of 6238 adolescents aged 16–18 years. We estimated prevalence of alcohol drinking behaviors in relation to severity of symptoms of anxiety and depression. Results Higher levels of depression symptoms were associated with earlier onset of alcohol use, more frequent consumption and intoxications. The associations between anxiety and depression symptoms and early drinking onset were stronger for girls than for boys. Higher levels of anxiety symptoms were only associated with alcohol consumption among girls. Conclusions Boys and girls with depressive symptoms and girls with anxiety symptoms are more likely to have unhealthy patterns of alcohol drinking. Preventive strategies at all levels could possibly profit from a common approach to mental health and alcohol use, in particular for girls in mid-adolescence.