Aims: Several studies suggest a rapid decrease of alcohol use among adolescents after the turn of the century. With decreasing prevalence rates of smokers, a so-called hardening may have taken place, implying that remaining smokers are characterized by more psychosocial problems. Are similar processes witnessed among remaining adolescent alcohol users as well? Methods: In 1992, 2002 and 2010 we used identical procedures to collect data from three population-based samples of 16- and 17-year-old Norwegians (n = 9207). We collected data on alcohol consumption, binge drinking, parental factors, use of other substances, conduct problems, depressive symptoms, social integration, sexual behaviour and loneliness. Results: There was a steep increase in all measures of alcohol consumption from 1992 to 2002, followed by a similar decline until 2010. Most correlates remained stable over the time span. Conclusion: Alcohol use was consistently related to psychosocial problems; on the other hand, alcohol users reported higher levels of social acceptance and social integration than did non-users. There were no signs of ‘hardening’ as seen for tobacco use.
This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Alcohol and Alcoholism following peer review. The version of record is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agu091