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).

Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS): alcohol report 2018
5 Risk and protective factors for alcohol use

5 Risk and protective factors for alcohol use

The charts in this chapter show the proportion of those who drank alcohol in the last week among different subgroups of 13 and 15 year olds. For example, the first chart in Figure 5.1 shows that 8% of 13 year olds who live with a step parent reported having drunk alcohol in the last week.

Family

A number of aspects of family life were associated with a greater likelihood of having drunk alcohol in the last week. These were: living with a single or step parent; low maternal knowledge of the pupil's activities; not talking to family when feeling worried; and having caring responsibilities (Figure 5.1).

Family status

Among 13 year olds, pupils who lived with both parents were less likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those living with a single parent or a step parent. Among 15 year olds, pupils who lived with a single parent were more likely to have drunk in the last week than those living with a step parent or both parents.

Parental monitoring

All pupils were asked 'How much does your mother really know about…': 'Who your friends are?'; 'How you spend your money?'; 'Where you are after school?'; 'Where you go at night?'; and 'What you do in your free time?'. For each, pupils were asked whether they thought their mother knew 'a lot', 'a little' or 'nothing'. A composite score for maternal awareness was calculated. The same questions were asked to establish their father's awareness. The majority of pupils felt that their mother knew 'a lot' about them whereas fathers' knowledge was perceived as lower.

Those who thought their parents knew a below average amount about how they spend their time and money were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who reported average or above average parental knowledge. This was true for both age groups, but was particularly evident among 13 year olds.

Family communication

Among both age groups, those that said they would be likely to talk to their family if they felt worried about something, were less likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who would not.

Caring responsibilities

Among both age groups, those who had caring responsibilities were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who did not.

Figure 5.1 Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to family life and age (2018)

Figure 5.1 Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to family life and age (2018)

Figure 5.1 – continued – Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to family life and age (2018)

Figure 5.1 – continued – Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to family life and age (2018)

Base: All pupils (for full base sizes please see Appendix A)

Whether allowed to drink at home

It was common for pupils to be allowed to drink at home sometimes. 71% of 13 year olds and 72% of 15 year olds reported that they were allowed to drink in their home 'sometimes'. However, it was much less common for pupils to be allowed to 'always' drink at home (5% of 13 year olds and 11% of 15 year olds), although this has increased since 2015 (3% of 13 year olds and 8% of 15 year olds).

Friends and leisure time

Aspects of a pupil's social life were associated with having drunk alcohol in the past week. Spending a lot of unsupervised time with friends, having more money to spend and undertaking activities with low levels of supervision were all associated with having drunk alcohol in the last week (Figure 5.2).

Number of close friends

Among both age groups, pupils who had no close friends were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week compared to those who had one or more friends.

Age of friends

Those with mostly older friends, or friends of mixed ages, were more likely to report having drunk alcohol in the past week than those whose friends were younger or about the same age. This was true for both age groups.

Number of evenings per week spent out with friends

Among both age groups, the greater the number of evenings pupils spent out with friends, the greater the likelihood they had drunk alcohol in the last week. Those who went out 5+ evenings per week were nearly 3 times more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who did not go out at all.

Money

Pupils with more money of their own to spend were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who had less.

Figure 5.2 Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to friendships and age (2018)

Figure 5.2 Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to friendships and age (2018)

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

School

Factors relating to a pupil's engagement with school had a strong relationship with drinking behaviour. The more engaged a pupil was with school, the less likely they were to have had an alcoholic drink recently (Figure 5.3).

Enjoying school

Pupils who liked school were less likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who did not. This association was strong for both age groups.

Pressure from schoolwork

At age 13, those who felt pressured by schoolwork a lot of the time were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who never felt pressured or felt pressured only sometimes.

Among 15 year olds, those that felt pressured by schoolwork a lot of the time, were also more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who felt pressured only sometimes. However, those who never felt pressured by schoolwork were most likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week.

Exclusion from school

Pupils who had ever been excluded from secondary school were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who had not.

Truanting from school

Truancy was strongly correlated with drinking in the last week. Among both age groups, the more frequently a pupil truanted, the more likely they were to have drunk alcohol in the week before the survey.

Post-school expectations

Among both age groups, those who expected to go to university after school were less likely to have had an alcoholic drink in the last week than those who expected to go to college, start an apprenticeship or go straight into work.

Figure 5.3 Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to school and age (2018)

Figure 5.3 Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to school and age (2018)

Figure 5.3 – continued – Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to school and age (2018)

Figure 5.3 – continued – Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to school and age (2018)

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

Inequalities

Inequalities related to health and wellbeing had a stronger association with drinking in the last week than area deprivation or rurality. Those who rated their general health as 'bad', those who reported a long-term illness or disability and those who had an 'abnormal' score for emotional and behavioural problems were all more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who did not (Figure 5.4).

Self-rated health

Pupils with poor self-rated health were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week. Among 13 year olds, those that rated their health as 'bad' were almost 4 times as likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who rated it as 'good'. 15 year olds who rated their health as 'bad' were nearly twice as likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who rated it as 'good'.

Long-term illness or disability

Among both age groups, those that reported having a long-term illness or disability were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who did not.

Emotional and behavioural problems

Emotional and behavioural problems are assessed through the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) in SALSUS[9]. The questionnaire contains 5 scales: emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity problems, peer problems and pro-social behaviour. The SDQ score is a composite measure derived from the first 4 scales listed and provides an overall indicator of emotional and behavioural problems.

Among both age groups, pupils with poorer mental health and wellbeing (a 'borderline' or 'abnormal' score) were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those with better mental health and wellbeing (a 'normal' score).

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing is assessed in SALSUS using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS). This is a scale of 14 positively worded items, with five response categories per item. The scale is scored by summing the response to each item answered on a 1 to 5 Likert scale. The minimum scale score is 14 and the maximum is 70. The higher a respondent's score, the better their mental wellbeing.

Among both age groups, pupils with below average mental wellbeing were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those with average or above average mental wellbeing.

Area deprivation[10]

Area-based deprivation is assessed using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). This is used to provide an indication of material disadvantage in individual pupils.

Among 13 year olds, those living in the most deprived areas (SIMD 1[11]) were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those living in the least deprived areas (SIMD 5). However, among 15 year olds, there was no relationship between drinking in the last week and area deprivation.

Rurality

There were no statistically significant differences in the proportion of pupils who drank alcohol in the last week by whether they lived in an urban or rural area[12].

Figure 5.4 Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to inequalities and age (2018)

Figure 5.4 Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to inequalities and age (2018)

Figure 5.4 – continued – Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to inequalities and age (2018)

Figure 5.4 – continued – Comparison of prevalence of alcohol use, by factors relating to inequalities and age (2018)

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


Contact

Email: salsus@gov.scot