Preventing underage drinking among youths on rural reservations

September 24, 2018, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

Underage drinking is a concern all over the country. Among American Indian and Alaska Native populations, there are especially serious issues: alcohol use and heavy drinking at an early age increase risks for lifetime alcohol problems, and American Indians and Native Alaskans have reported younger onsets than other groups.

A recent study by the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, the Scripps Research Institute, and the Southern California Tribal Health Center, evaluated the effects of combined individual- and community-level interventions to reduce underage by American Indian/Alaska Native youths on rural California Indian reservations. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Eligible youths between 13 and 20 were randomly assigned to receive brief motivational interviewing or psychoeducation. Motivational interviewing is a widely researched technique that uses a non-confrontational approach to encourage individuals to change unhealthy behaviors, in this case drinking .

The clinic therapists who delivered this part of the program used a culturally-tailored approach tested with diverse American Indian groups. The psychoeducation program consisted of watching 2 DVDs on the consequences of drinking and dangers of binge drinking, assisted by the therapist. Both conditions lasted 1.5 hours and took place either individually or in groups.

The community-level program focused on reducing underage access to alcohol and reinforcing community norms against providing alcohol to youths. The researchers implemented a "recognition and reminder" program to reduce sales to minors. In recognition and reminder programs, apparent minors (i.e., volunteers 21 years or older, but judged to look younger) visited stores and tried to buy alcoholic beverages. Project staff rewarded clerks who asked for age identification (with gift cards and congratulatory letters) or reminded clerks who did not request identification of underage sales laws.

These programs have been found to reduce alcohol sales to minors.

The researchers also implemented an outreach to raise community awareness about the risks of underage substance use and to mobilize support for the interventions.

Project staff developed informational materials on underage alcohol use for distribution to youths, parents, Tribal leaders, and health clinic professionals. Outreach staff from local communities presented these materials and discussed alcohol-related risks and alcohol-free strategies with youths and parents at health fairs, pow-wows, and cultural gatherings. Staff also gave age-appropriate presentations at the after-school programs of each Tribe, a reservation charter school, Tribal councils, and other meetings.

To test the effects of these strategies, the researchers compared 7 waves of California Healthy Kids Survey data (2002-2015) for 9th and 11th-grade American Indian and non-Indian students in intervention area schools with California American Indian students outside the intervention area.

Reports of drinking frequency declined among students who were current drinkers in the intervention group relative to comparison groups. Heavy drinking frequency among current drinkers also declined in the intervention group relative to the comparison groups.

Follow-up with the students who received both the motivational interviews and the psychoeducation showed significant reductions in drinking and problem behaviors over time, although there were no significant differences between the two approaches.

Study authors concluded that this type of multi-level approach—including both individual interventions and community participation—can reduce the frequency of and reduce the frequency of among young American Indians.

Lead study author Roland Moore stated, "American Indian Tribes place a high value on the current and future well-being of their children. Their well-being is threatened by early alcohol involvement. We are pleased to be able to suggest this combination of approaches to help protect American Indian and Alaska Native youth."

Explore further: Study finds effective interventions to prevent alcohol use among American Indian and rural youth

More information: Roland S. Moore et al. Prevention of Underage Drinking on California Indian Reservations Using Individual- and Community-Level Approaches, American Journal of Public Health (2018). DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304447

Related Stories

Study finds effective interventions to prevent alcohol use among American Indian and rural youth

March 2, 2017
Community-based and individual-level prevention strategies are effective ways to reduce alcohol use among American Indian and other youth living in rural communities, according to a new study supported by the National Institute ...

Underage drinking down in past decade

June 11, 2015
(HealthDay)—Underage drinking in the United States is declining. But, alcohol remains the most widely used substance of abuse among American children, federal researchers reported Thursday.

Emergency department visit provides opportunity to reduce underage drinking

October 7, 2015
The results of a five-year trial from faculty at the University of Michigan Injury Center found giving youth in the emergency department a short intervention during their visit decreased their alcohol consumption and problems ...

Web-based program may help address underage drinking

April 5, 2018
A new study supports the use of a brief, web-based program alone and in combination with a parent campaign for preventing alcohol consumption among adolescents transitioning from middle school to high school.

Study finds 60 per cent of Australia's bottle shops sell alcohol to teens without checking ID

April 21, 2016
More than half of Australia's bottle shops are selling alcohol to teenagers without checking their age, a Deakin University study has found.

High-risk typologies for heavy drinking ID'd in underage women

February 9, 2018
(HealthDay)—For underage women, high-risk trajectories have been identified for heavy episodic drinking (HED), and feminine norms are associated with latent trajectory classes, according to a study published online Feb. ...

Recommended for you

Removing sweets from checkouts linked to dramatic fall in unhealthy snack purchases

December 18, 2018
Policies aimed at removing sweets and crisps from checkouts could lead to a dramatic reduction to the amount of unhealthy food purchased to eat 'on the go' and a significant reduction in that purchased to take home, suggests ...

Junk food diet raises depression risk, researchers find

December 18, 2018
A diet of fast food, cakes and processed meat increases your risk of depression, according to researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Children of problem drinkers more likely to marry someone with a drinking problem: study

December 18, 2018
Children of parents who have alcohol use disorder are more likely to get married under the age of 25, less likely to get married later in life, and more likely to marry a person who has alcohol use disorder themselves, according ...

Folate deficiency creates hitherto unknown problems in connection with cell division

December 17, 2018
Folate deficiency creates more problems in connection with DNA replication than researchers had hitherto assumed, researchers from the University of Copenhagen show in a new study. Once a person lacks folate, the damage caused ...

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

Study shows magnesium optimizes vitamin D status

December 14, 2018
A randomized trial by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers indicates that magnesium optimizes vitamin D status, raising it in people with deficient levels and lowering it in people with high levels.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.