Author: Birgitta Ander


The overall aim of this thesis is to investigate adolescent drinking to drunkenness and connected contextual factors. The thesis is based on four studies, addressing different aspects: The first explores arenas of adolescent drunkenness, and the meaning the adolescents attribute to them. The second investigates Swedish adolescents discourse on alcohol and parties, as well as positive and negative effects of alcohol consumption. The third reports on early onset, i.e. before the age of 14, in substance use, including alcohol drinking and drunkenness, and predicts this from various psychological and social factors. The forth examines contexts of drunkenness, i.e. where and with whom 15-year olds in Sweden get drunk. Furthermore, the importance of the place and social context for drunkenness in adolescence, and what importance and strategies young people themselves associate with their alcohol consumption are examined.

The studies derive from two data samples. Articles I and II utilise qualitative methods and explore Swedish changing arenas for adolescent drunkenness and adolescent discourse on drunkenness and the importance of place and space. Article I stems from a qualitative interview-material with an ethnographic approach. Twenty-three adolescents (7 females and 16 males) from three small communities in the south of Sweden in the ages of 16 to18 were interviewed. The material also included contacts with outreach social workers on local, regional and national level as well participating observations. The data for Article II stems from the interviews with twenty-three adolescents. Article I was analysed through text-analysis and Article II through thematic analysis.

Articles III and IV conduct quantitative analyses, and stems from the multidisciplinary research programme, Longitudinal Research on Development In Adolescence (LoRDIA) which follows adolescents from the age of 12 and 13 until they are 18 years old, focusing on substance use and misuse, health and ill-health, peer relations and school functioning through self-reported questionnaires. Different 1 data collection waves were used, and combined them two and two, for cross-sectional analyses. Article III combined the first two waves and by doing so, covered 91 percent of the study population of 1896 students aged 13-14. Article IV combined all 1355 grade 9 students from waves 3 and 3b. Article III investigated early onset in substance use and was analysed with bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models. Article IV investigated frequency of drunkenness and different outcomes from drunkenness in different contexts, as well as with whom adolescents got drunk together with and the negative consequences of getting drunk.

The result indicates a change from drinking to drunkenness at outdoor places. The outdoor places, both public and hidden, that has been used for adolescents socializing and drinking to drunkenness were empty. Homes, without present adults are the most common places for parties. The parties stand for mainly positive experiences and a break in everyday life. Being in a home arena allows for increased control, both over own drunkenness but also over who is allowed at the party and who is not. The dissertation also investigates early onset in use of alcohol and drunkenness and shows that delinquency, perceived parental permissions and availability of substances are the strongest factors predicting onset among 13-14-year-olds. The dissertation shows that most drunkenness experiences are reported in homes without adults present, not in outdoor and hidden places. Drinking in homes did not lower the association with high frequency of drunkenness, negative consequences or peer problems.

The conclusion shows the importance of place and space in understanding adolescent drunkenness and partying.

This research is financed by:

Swedish Research Council, FORTE, VINNOVA, Formas.

Contact: Birgitta Ander, Department of Social Work, School of Health and Welfare in Jönköping University