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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


DIAZ MARTINEZ, L. Rosa et al. Hazardous and harmful drinking among Mexican adolescents: prevalence and predictive factors. Salud Ment [online]. 2009, vol.32, n.6, pp.447-458. ISSN 0185-3325.

Alcohol is commonly used among adolescents in Mexico. In a representative survey of Mexico's general population, 30% of the teenagers reported current drinking, whereas 8% incurred in binge drinking (5 or more drinks per occasion) at least once during the last year. In addition, 3% reported three or more alcohol dependence symptoms over the last 12 months. In this Mexican age group, alcohol consumption importantly contributes to the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality (e.g. accidents, violence, homicides, suicide and risky behaviors). Data from a representative survey of adolescents attending middle and high school in Mexico City suggests that adolescents attending Mexico's schools run a high risk for alcohol problems. In this study, prevalence of lifetime and current drinking, and of current binge drinking (5 or more drinks per occasion) were, respectively, 65.8%, 35.2%, and 23.8%. These rates are substantially higher than those described in teenagers from Mexico's general population. Furthermore, although among Mexico's general population the prevalence of drinking has traditionally been higher among male than female adolescents, no gender differences in prevalence of alcohol consumption have been reported among Mexican middle and high school students. This suggests that female adolescents in Mexico's schools have become equally exposed to drinking as their male counterparts. Despite these trends, there is a paucity of studies examining drinking patterns and their respective correlates among Mexican adolescents attending post-elementary education. To our knowledge, in this population, there are no published prevalence estimates of Hazardous and Harmful Drinking (HHD). HHD is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption conferring to the individual a greater risk for health problems, or frankly conducive to medical or psychological complications (e.g. accidents, victimization, violence, alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis and/or other medical complications). The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), developed by the World Health Organization, is currently the only instrument specifically designed to identify HHD. Although the AUDIT was initially validated only among adult patients in primary care settings, this instrument has consistently shown to be valid and reliable in detecting alcohol problems in different populations, such as the adolescent population in many countries around the world. Given the public health implications of estimating the frequency of HHD among adolescents attending high school in Mexico, and given the importance of elucidating the variables influencing this problem, we decided to conduct the analysis presented here. To our knowledge, this is the first report published in the international literature on the prevalence of HHD among adolescents attending high school in a Latin American country. Objective In the study described here, derived from a Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) project entitled <<Early Identification and Treatment of Problem Drinkers>>, we aimed at examining the frequency and risk factors for HHD among Mexican high school students. More specifically, our objectives were: 1. to determine the past-year prevalence of HHD among high school freshmen; and 2. to examine, in this population, the effects of demographic and family variables in the likelihood of HHD. Subjects and methods This study was a cross-sectional survey conducted at the beginning of the school year during the registration period between September 1st and September 30th, 2005. In 2005, a total of 34000 students were accepted to initiate college at the nine UNAM college campuses located in the Mexico City metropolitan area. Of these, 28784 students (87.4 %) (age=14.8 [±2.5] years; 51.0% women) consented in answering the survey and provided complete data. Consequently, 521 6 students (12.6%) were excluded from the analysis due to a lack of consent, incomplete data or their absence at the time of registration. We used the AUDIT to examine past-year prevalence of HHD. This self-report instrument includes 10 items that examine frequency and intensity of drinking (items 1-3), presence of alcohol dependence symptoms (items 4-6), and negative consequences of drinking (items 7-10), yielding a maximum possible score of 40 points. Among adult patients in primary care settings, it has been accepted that an AUDIT score of 0-7 points reflects safe levels of alcohol consumption, whereas a score of 8 points or higher indicates the presence of Hazardous and/or Harmful Drinking. It has been described however, that among adolescents, an AUDIT score of 3 points or higher reliably identifies those students experiencing this problem. In the analysis presented here, we separately examined and reported prevalence estimates and correlates for HHD using both AUDIT's cut-off scores (≥3 and ≥8). The AUDIT was administered at the same time that a wellness screening survey that the UNAM Medical Services routinely administer to all registering high school freshmen at the beginning of the school year. Questions in the wellness survey pertained students' medical and dental health, family medical history, immunizations, and use of tobacco and other drugs. In addition, demographic and socioeconomic information was obtained from a questionnaire also routinely administered by the UNAM registrar's office. This questionnaire included 37 items inquiring about gender, age, employment and marital status, monthly family income, parental education, place and type of residency, persons with whom the student resided, and questions on previous academic performance. We estimated the prevalence of HHD and their respective 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) in the total of the sample, and separately by age group, gender, working status, monthly family income, parental education, and by variables reflecting whether the students lived with their family, peers, or alone. These variables were modeled using simulated binary terms (0, 1). Subsequently, a multinomial logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between HHD and the demographic and socioeconomic variables listed above. Variables were entered simultaneously into the logistic regression equation. To summarize the level of risk of HHD conferred by significant variables in the logistic regression model, odds ratios (OR) and their respective 95% CI's were estimated. All the significant effects reported here were adjusted considering the effects of the remaining demographic and socioeconomic variables. Results Among the high school students examined here, the prevalence of HHD was 4.0% when an AUDIT cut-off score of ≥ 8 was used. When an AUDIT score of ≥3 was considered, a frequency of 1 7.2% was observed. Men (AUDIT ≥8: 5.4%; AUDIT ≥3: 21.4%) experienced this problem more frequently than women (AUDIT≥8: 2.6%; AUDIT≥3: 13.1%). The highest prevalence of HHD among men was observed in all age groups and regardless of working status, family income, parents' education, or regardless of the persons with whom the student reported to live with. Controlling for demographic and socioeconomic differences between men and women, we found that the risk of experiencing HHD among men was approximately two times higher than among women (OR's and 95% CI's for AUDIT's cut-off score ≥8 or ≥3, respectively 2.0[1.6-2.4] and 1.6[1.5-1.8]).

Palabras llave : Alcoholism; alcohol; AUDIT; hazardous drinking; harmful drinking; adolescent drinking; Mexico; Latin America.

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