Characteristics and predictors of Heavy Episodic Drinking (HED) among young people aged 16–25 : the International Alcohol Control Study (IAC), Tshwane, South Africa

Harker, Nadine ; Londani, Mukhethwa ; Morojele, Neo ; Williams, Petal Petersen ; Parry, Charles D. H. (2020-05-19)

CITATION: Harker, N. et al. Characteristics and predictors of Heavy Episodic Drinking (HED) among young people aged 16–25: The International Alcohol Control Study (IAC), Tshwane, South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(10). doi:10.3390/ijerph17103537

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In South Africa, little is known about alcohol consumption patterns, such as drinks consumed, container size, salience of alcohol price, affordability and availability, and perceptions of alcohol policies as potential predictors of heavy episodic alcohol (HED) use among young people. This paper examines predictors of HED among young people with specific consideration given to these alcohol consumption patterns. This study conducted in the Tshwane Metropole in 2014 employed multi-stage stratified cluster random sampling. Participants were between the ages 16–25 years. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Of the 287 (n = 678) participants who had used alcohol in the past six months and for whom we had complete consumption data, almost half were identified as heavy episodic drinkers (HEDs) and were significantly more likely to consume alcohol on a daily basis (p = 0.001). Having nightclub as the primary drinking location (p = 0.023) and drinking from a container size bigger than one standard drink (p = 0.014) were significant predictors for HED. HEDs were also more likely to have a perception that most people consume alcohol (p = 0.047). The results point to HED of alcohol among young people who drink in South Africa, highlighting the need for multicomponent interventions.

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