Loneliness and (excessive) alcohol use among adolescents in the Netherlands and the effect of the parent-child relationship
Oude, Coco de
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A small group of adolescents drink heavily, which may lead to negative health outcomes such as brain damage. Although alcohol is often consumed with others, research also shows that adolescents sometimes cope with feelings of isolation, by drinking more alcohol. In addition, the parent-child relationship might influence the relation between loneliness and alcohol use, serving as a protective factor. The current study investigates the longitudinal relation between loneliness and alcohol use among adolescents and the effect of having a positive parent-child relationship. Data from the first three waves of the ‘YOUth Got Talent’-project (Inchley et al., 2017; Stevens et al., 2018) is used. The sample contained 390 students (Mage= 17.33, SDage= 1.34), from different MBO-schools in Utrecht. Results of the regression analysis showed an effect in the opposite direction than hypothesized: lonelier adolescents predict decreased alcohol use of adolescents. Accordingly, it was not found that lonely adolescents with a good parent-child relationship consume less alcohol. Other non-family related relationships may play a more important role in predicting alcohol consumption. The results suggest that further research should consider the social environment.