Psychosomatic Symptoms of Adolescents and Age of Alcohol Onset: Examining the Moderating Role of Strictness of Alcohol Policy
MetadataShow full item record
Drinking at an early age can have severe health and social consequences, which highlights the need to identify factors that predict an early age of alcohol onset. One of these relevant predictors might be psychosomatic symptoms of adolescents as adolescents might cope with their symptoms by drinking alcohol. As the impact of psychosomatic symptoms on alcohol onset might depend on national legal regulations regarding alcohol consumption, the present cross-national study examined the association between psychosomatic symptoms and age of alcohol onset and if this association differs according to the strictness of three national alcohol policies (strict, medium strict and lenient). Data consisted out of 5152 adolescents aged fifteen and sixteen who participated in the 2013-2014 Swedish, Polish and Dutch Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. As expected, multinomial logistic regression analyses revealed that more psychosomatic symptoms increased the risk of an early age of alcohol onset. Furthermore, this association was weakest in a strict alcohol policy. In supporting adolescents to cope with their psychosomatic symptoms, interventions should, in addition to reducing and preventing psychosomatic symptoms, aim to teach adolescents different and more effective coping strategies to increase the age of alcohol onset.