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Type: Thesis
Title: Alcohol Consumption in Australia: Can Awareness about Health Impacts, or the Presence of Children in the Home be Linked to Drinking Behaviour?
Author: Bowden, Jacqueline Anne
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: Alcohol consumption is commonplace in Australia and its use is linked to approximately 5,500 deaths per annum. Despite findings that the majority of harms are due to long-term consumption, interventions have predominantly focussed on reducing short-term harms. The Transtheoretical Model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1982) suggests that behaviour change requires recognition and contemplation of the impact of a behaviour on valued health outcomes. This thesis examines the level of community awareness about the long-term harms of consumption, for the self and for children and adolescents, as a first step to the design of behaviour change interventions. The first study surveyed approximately 2,700 adults each wave in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2011/12, 33.0% of men and 10.7% of women drank in excess of the Australian alcohol guideline threshold for increased lifetime risk of disease. Overall, 53.5% correctly recalled the guideline threshold for women; only 20.3% did so for men with 39.0% nominating a higher amount. In 2012, only 36.6% saw alcohol as an important risk factor for cancer (an increase from 22.4% in 2004), but those that did, were less likely to exceed the guideline for increased lifetime risk. The second study surveyed 2,885 school students aged 12-17 years. Overall, awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer was low (28.5%). Smoking and friends’ approval were predictive of drinking, whereas parental disapproval was protective. Those aged 14-17 years who did not think the link between alcohol and cancer was important were more likely to drink. Smoking and the perception that alcohol was easy to buy predicted recent drinking. The third study utilised data from a national survey of adults aged 25-55 years (n=11,591). Overall, fewer parents exceeded guidelines for increased short-term or lifetime risk than non-parents. Mothers were less likely to exceed the guideline for long-term risk when their youngest child was aged 0-2, 6-11 or 15 years and over, or the guideline for short-term risk, if their youngest child was aged 0-2 or 15 years and over. Fathers were less likely to exceed the guideline for increased short-term risk if their youngest child was aged 0-2 years. Parents were more likely to drink in the home than non-parents. The fourth study surveyed 1,000 adults including 670 parents. Respondents were less concerned about a father drinking one or two drinks in front of their children than a mother. Overall, 37.3% of parents reported drinking a glass of alcohol each day or a couple of times a week; 20.1% reported getting slightly drunk; and 8.6% reported getting visibly drunk with their children present. Fathers were more likely to drink, and drink more regularly in front of children than mothers. These studies highlight that men, in particular, drink in excess of the guideline for increased lifetime risk, and that they are unlikely to be aware of this risk. Furthermore, this over-consumption risks normalising over-consumption for the next generation, particularly given the importance of role-modelling. Communication of these long-term risks is likely to increase awareness, a necessary precursor to behaviour change.
Advisor: Wilson, Carlene
Delfabbro, Paul
Miller, Caroline
Room, Robin
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2019
Keywords: Alcohol
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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