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Curtin University
Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health

Youth Alcohol Drinking Project (2012 – 2014)

Chief Investigators

  • Associate Professor Sharyn Burns (WACHPR, Curtin University)
  • Gemma Crawford (WACHPR, Curtin University)
  • Jonathan Hallett (WACHPR, Curtin University)
  • Dr Jonine Jancey (WACHPR, Curtin University)
  • Linda Portsmouth (WACHPR, Curtin University)
  • Nicole Bowser (WACHPR, Curtin University)
  • Bree Shields (WACHPR, Curtin University)
  • Lisa Rooke (South Metropolitan Public Health Unit)
  • Charlene Shoneye (South Metropolitan Public Health Unit)
  • Janelle Logo (South Metropolitan Public Health Unit)

Project Manager

  • Kristen Hunt (WACHPR, Curtin University)

Project Aim and Objectives

The project aims to reduce the proportion of 17 to 24 year olds from the Curtin community who drink at hazardous and harmful levels and create a culture within the university that supports responsible levels of alcohol consumption in accordance with the NHMRC Australian Alcohol Guidelines. The project objectives are as follows.

  1. Reduce the proportion of the target group who self-report drinking at hazardous and harmful levels at least monthly by 5% by the end of the project.
  2. Reduce the proportion of the target group who self-report experiencing alcohol-related harms affecting their immediate social, emotional and/or physical health and academic performance in the preceding four weeks by 5% by the end of the project. 
  3. Increase the proportion of the target group who accurately recall the NHMRC guidelines for reducing acute risk, standard drinks measures and maximum blood alcohol concentration levels by 20% by the end of the project. 
  4. Increase the proportion of the target group who can identify health risks and social disadvantages of alcohol and see these disadvantages as potentially salient and relevant to themselves by 10% by the end of the project. 
  5. Increase the proportion of the target group who accurately identify the normative drinking behaviour of their peers by 10% by the end of the project. 
  6. Reduce the number and type of alcohol promotion, marketing and sponsorship arrangements on campus relative to a baseline audit by the end of the project. 
  7. Increase protective factors and policy in the Curtin environment relating to access to alcohol, responsible service and access to support services within the Curtin community relative to a baseline audit by the end of the project.  

Background

Alcohol use among young people

One in five Australians binge drink at high risk levels at least once a month with teenagers and young adults reporting the highest levels of alcohol consumption in Australia. Young people aged 15 to 25 years are at the greatest risk of experiencing a range of alcohol-related harms including road trauma, violence, sexual coercion, falls, drowning and suicide. The YADP target group of 17 to 24 year olds represents the age group most at risk of binge drinking. Harmful drinking among this group is common in Australia and many other countries, with Australian and international research consistently identifying university students as a population group at particular risk. University students have been found to be more likely to drink at unhealthy levels and to drink more heavily than their young adult non student peers. The university setting supports environmental, lifestyle and developmental factors that create a unique situation for the consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol and alcohol consumption is considered to be a part of the social and sporting culture of the university setting.

Research suggests a strong culture of harmful alcohol consumption by Australian university students. The Tertiary Health Research Intervention Via Email (THRIVE) study (Curtin University) reported 90% of students consumed alcohol in the last 12 months, with the mean volume for a typical drinking session being 5.09 standard drinks for women and 8.68 for men. The mean audit score, for 17 to 19 and 20 to 25 year olds were 7.69 and 7.00 respectively and 44.5% of 17 to 19 year olds and 39.1% of 20 to 25 year olds scored 8 or higher. The NHMRC thresholds for acute harm (40g/60g for females/males) for alcohol consumption were exceeded at least once in the last four weeks by almost half (48%) the students

Project Strategies

The study will consist of fifteen strategies that will focus on:

  • Partnerships 
  • Structural change 
  • Capacity building and advocacy 
  • Mass media and sponsorship
  • Training and education 

Contact

Please contact the Project Officer, Kristen Hunt on 9266 9290 or Kristen.hunt@curtin.edu.au for more information about the study or how to get involved.

Funding

  • Healthway

 

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