Alcohol use in youth is regarded as an important public health concern and in a recent survey in 35 European countries, every third student reported heavy episodic drinking. While prevalence estimates for problem drinking in adults from representative population samples are available, corresponding numbers for adolescents in Germany are currently lacking.
A representative sample of 1531 12-25 years old in Germany was investigated with a standardized questionnaire concerning problem drinking (assessed with the AUDIT-C) and psychosocial aspects (anxiety with the GAD-2, depressive symptoms with the PHQ-2 and smoking behavior). Due to missing values, we could calculate prevalence estimates, chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses for 1490 cases.
The 1-year prevalence of problem drinking in 12-25 years old in Germany was 18.2%. Overall, 5.0% of the adolescents (aged 12-17 years) and 27.7% of the young adults (aged 18-25 years) reported problem drinking in the last year. Young adult males more often showed problem drinking than females, while no gender differences in adolescents were observed. Problem drinking was associated with male gender, higher age, smoking behavior and depressive symptoms.
According to the study findings, problem drinking is widespread in 12-25 years old in Germany.