Publication - Statistics

Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS): alcohol report 2018

Published: 26 Nov 2019
Directorate:
Population Health Directorate
Part of:
Education, Health and social care, Law and order
ISBN:
9781839603303

Findings on alcohol from the 2018 wave of the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS).

60 page PDF

2.7 MB

60 page PDF

2.7 MB

Contents
Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS): alcohol report 2018
2 Prevalence and key trends

60 page PDF

2.7 MB

2 Prevalence and key trends

Summary of key changes over time

Among all groups, the proportion of pupils who have ever had an alcoholic drink has increased since 2015. Drinking in the last week is also increasing in all groups except 15 year old girls. In addition, there has been an increase in the proportion of pupils who had ever been drunk, with the exception of 15 year old boys, see Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1 Summary of trends in alcohol use between 2013 and 2018

Figure 2.1 Summary of trends in alcohol use between 2013 and 2018

Ever had a drink (a whole drink, not just a sip)

2018 Figures

Just over a third of 13 year olds (36%) have ever had an alcoholic drink and 71% of 15 year olds have ever had one.

Trends Over Time

Among all groups, the proportion of pupils who have ever had an alcoholic drink has been steadily decreasing since 2004.

However, there has been an increase across all groups between 2015 and 2018 (Figure 2.2). The proportion among 13 year old boys and 13 year old girls increased by 8 and 9 percentage points respectively (up from 29% and 26% in 2015). The proportion among 15 year old boys and 15 year old girls increased by 7 and 5 percentage points respectively (up from 63% and 68% in 2015).

Gender Differences

Among 15 year olds, girls were slightly more likely than boys to have ever had a drink, but there were no gender differences among 13 year olds (Figure 2.2).

Figure 2.2 Proportion of pupils who have ever had a drink, by sex and age (1990-2018)
Q. Have you ever had a proper alcoholic drink – a whole drink, not just a sip?

Figure 2.2 Proportion of pupils who have ever had a drink, by sex and age (1990-2018)

Base: all pupils (for full base size information please see Appendix A)

Drank in the last week

2018 Figures

Only a small proportion of 13 year olds had drunk in the 7 days prior to completing the survey (6%), while a fifth of 15 year olds had done the same (20%).

Trends Over Time

Between 2015 and 2018, there has been an increase in the proportion of boys who had drunk in the last week: from 4% to 7% among 13 year olds and from 16% to 20% among 15 year olds. There was also an increase among 13 year old girls, from 4% in 2015 to 6% in 2018. Among 15 year old girls there has been no statistically significant change (Figure 2.3).

Gender Differences

There were no statistical differences between boys and girls in either age group (Figure 2.3).

Figure 2.3 Proportion of pupils who drank in the last week, by sex and age (1990-2018)
Q. When did you last have an alcoholic drink?

Figure 2.3 Proportion of pupils who drank in the last week, by sex and age (1990-2018)

Base: all pupils (for full base size information please see Appendix A)

Ever been drunk

2018 Figures

Just over half of 13 year olds (53%) and around two-thirds of 15 year olds (70%), who had ever had an alcoholic drink, had been drunk at least once. 4% of 13 year olds and 21% of 15 year olds reported being drunk more than 10 times.

Trends Over Time

Overall, there was a small decline in the proportion of pupils who have ever been drunk between 2002 and 2015. However, between 2015 and 2018 the proportion who have ever been drunk has increased among all groups except 15 year old boys (Figure 2.4).

The most notable change has been among 13 year old girls who have ever had an alcoholic drink, with the proportion who have ever been drunk increasing from 47% in 2015 to 57% in 2018.

Additionally, the number of 15 year olds reporting to have been drunk more than 10 times has gone up 9 percentage points since last wave, from 12% in 2013 to 21% in 2018.

Gender Differences

Among both age groups, girls were more likely than boys to have been drunk at least once, and this gap has widened between 2015 and 2018 (Figure 2.4).

Figure 2.4 Proportion of pupils, who have ever had an alcoholic drink, who have ever been drunk, by sex and age (2002-2018)
Q. Have you ever been drunk?

Figure 2.4 Proportion of pupils, who have ever had an alcoholic drink, who have ever been drunk, by sex and age (2002-2018)

Base: pupils who have ever had an alcoholic drink (for full base size information please see Appendix A)

Been drunk in the last week

2018 Figures

52% of 13 year olds and 57% of 15 year olds who had a drink in the last week, had been drunk in the same time period.

Trends Over Time

Among 15 year old and 13 year old girls, there have been no statistically significant changes in the proportion who had been drunk in the last week. However, the proportion of 13 year old boys who had been drunk in the last week increased from 43% in 2015 to 51% in 2018 (Figure 2.5)

Gender Differences

There were no statistical differences between the proportions of boys and girls in either age group who had been drunk in the last week (Figure 2.5).

Figure 2.5 Proportion of pupils who have drunk alcohol in the last week, who had been drunk in the same period, by age and sex (2006-2018)
Q. Have you been drunk in the last 7 days?

Figure 2.5 Proportion of pupils who have drunk alcohol in the last week, who had been drunk in the same period, by age and sex (2006-2018)

Base: pupils who have drunk alcohol in the last week (for full base size information please see Appendix A)

Age first had a drink

2018 Figures

The mean age that 15 year olds first had a drink was 13.3 years and the mean age they first got drunk was 13.8 years.

Trends Over Time

The age at which pupils first tried alcohol has increased from 13 years and 2 months in 2015 to 13 years and 4 months in 2018. However, the age at which pupils first got drunk has not changed since 2015 (Figure 2.6).

Gender Differences

15 year old girls were slightly older than boys when they first tried drinking (13 years and 5 months among girls, compared with 13 years and 2 months among boys) and first got drunk (13 years and 11 months among girls and 13 years and 9 months among boys).

Figure 2.6 Mean age at which 15 year old pupils who have ever had a drink, first had an alcoholic drink and first got drunk (2008-2018)[8]
Q. How old were you when you first drank alcohol/got drunk?

Figure 2.6 Mean age at which 15 year old pupils who have ever had a drink, first had an alcoholic drink and first got drunk (2008-2018)

Base: 15 year olds who have ever had a drink (for full base size information please see Appendix A)

Drinking locations

2018 Figures

The most common drinking location for 13 year olds was at their own home. The next most common places were someone else's home, at a party with friends or out in the street. Among 15 year olds, the most common places to drink alcohol were at their home, at a party with friends and at someone else's home (Figure 2.7).

Trends Over Time

Among 13 year olds, there has been an increase in the proportion of pupils who usually drink at their home (60% in 2018, compared with 53% in 2015), at a party with friends (25% in 2018, compared with 22% in 2015) and at someone else's house (30% in 2018, compared with 26% in 2015).

Among 15 year olds, there has been an increase in the proportion of pupils who usually drink in a pub or bar (6% in 2018, compared with 3% in 2015), at their own home (51% in 2018, compared with 43% in 2015), at someone else's home (47% in 2018, compared with 41% in 2015) and out in the street (26% in 2018, compared with 22% in 2015).

Gender Differences

Boys were more likely than girls to drink in a pub or bar (6% of boys, compared with 3% of girls) whereas girls were more likely than boys to have drunk at someone else's home (47% of girls, compared with 36% of boys), at a party with friends (47% of girls, compared with 37% of boys) or out on the street (26% of girls, compared with 23% of boys).

Figure 2.7 Usual drinking locations, among those who have ever had a drink, by age (2018)
Q. When you drink alcohol, where are you usually? [Multiple answers can be selected for this question]

Figure 2.7 Usual drinking locations, among those who have ever had a drink, by age (2018)

Base: pupils who have ever had an alcoholic drink (13 year olds, 3,955) (15 year olds, 7,193)

Effects of alcohol

2018 Figures

Around half (52%) of 13 year olds and 63% of 15 year olds who had ever had a drink had experienced one (or more) of the negative effects listed in Figure 2.8 as a result of drinking alcohol in the last year.

Among both age groups, the most common negative consequence was doing something they regretted or vomiting (Figure 2.8).

Trends Over Time

The proportion of 13 year olds experiencing at least one effect increased from 45% in 2015 to 52% in 2018. The proportion of 15 year old girls experiencing at least one effect increased from 64% in 2015 to 68% in 2018 but there was no statistically significant change over time among 15 year old boys.

Among 13 year olds there have been small increases in the frequency of a number of the effects listed in Figure 2.8: having an argument (from 23% in 2015 to 26% in 2018); being sick (from 25% to 29%); doing school work badly (from 14% to 18%); posting something online that you wished you hadn't (from 10% to 14%); sending a text/email you wish you hadn't (from 17% to 22%); and doing something you later regret (from 26% to 30%).

A similar pattern emerged among 15 year olds – small increases across several of the effects experienced. This included increases in the proportion who ended up in a situation where they felt threatened/unsafe (from 14% in 2015 to 17% in 2018), stayed off school (from 9% to 12%), had been sick (from 37% to 40%), has done school work badly (from 12% to 15%), posted something online they wished they hadn't (from 11% to 17%); sent a text/email they wish they hadn't (from 27% to 30%); and did something they later regretted (from 36% to 41%).

Gender Differences

Girls were more likely than boys to have an argument due to drinking alcohol (36% of girls, compared with 26% of boys), to have been sick (40%, compared with 33%) posted something online they wished they hadn't (19%, compared with 12%), sent a text/email that they wished they hadn't (34%, compared with 20%) and done something they later regretted (42%, compared with 32%). Boys were more likely to have had a fight (17% of boys, compared with 12% of girls) and to have tried drugs (17% of boys, compared with 13% of girls).

Figure 2.8 Proportion of pupils who have ever drunk alcohol who experienced negative effects as a result of drinking alcohol, by age (2018)
Q In the past year, as a result of drinking alcohol have you…?

Figure 2.8 Proportion of pupils who have ever drunk alcohol who experienced negative effects as a result of drinking alcohol, by age (2018)

Base: pupils who have ever had an alcoholic drink (13 year olds, 4,144) (15 year olds, 7,290)


Contact

Email: salsus@gov.scot