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Reasons for not drinking and pressures to drink : a survey of adolescent abstainers Mangham, Colin Richard


Alcohol use among adolescents has been the subject of considerable research. A burgeoning literature exists identifying correlates and factors in teenage drinking. However, little is known about the adolescent abstaining from alcohol. The target of this study was this cohort of abstaining adolescents. The reasons for not drinking and the pressures to drink perceived among a sample of middle adolescent (grade 9) non-drinkers was investigated. The study was a survey administered in three parts. First, an alcohol-use survey was administered to all participating grade 9 students in two school districts. A second questionnaire was administered to 72 subjects reporting non-use of alcohol on the initial survey. Thirty of these subjects were then interviewed. Negative attitudes toward alcohol and drinking, a concern about alcohol's effects on health, and a dislike for the taste of alcoholic beverages were among the strongest reasons for not drinking given by the sample. The subjects' own attitudes about alcohol appear to be more important factors in their decisions to abstain than the direct influence of peers, parents or others. As in previous studies, religiosity was a strongly reported factor in the abstinence of a number (25%) of the subjects. It appears that at least for this sample of non-drinking adolescents, the perceived pressure to drink from peers, adults, the media or society generally is very limited.

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