Why are Spanish Adolescents Binge Drinkers? Focus Group with Adolescents and Parents

José Manuel Martínez-Montilla, Liesbeth Mercken, Marta Lima-Serrano, Hein de Vries, Joaquín S Lima-Rodríguez

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Binge drinking in adolescents is a worldwide public healthcare problem. The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions about determinants of binge drinking in Spanish adolescents from the perspective of adolescents and parents. A qualitative study using fourteen semi-structured focus groups of adolescents was conducted during the 2014/2015 school year (n = 94), and four with parents (n = 19), based on the I-Change Model for health behaviour acquisition. Students had a low level of knowledge and risk perception and limited self-efficacy. Girls reported more parental control, and when they get drunk, society perceives them worse. Adolescents suggested focus preventive actions to improve self-efficacy and self-esteem. Parents were permissive about alcohol drinking but rejected binge drinking. They offered alcohol to their children, mainly during celebrations. A permissive family environment, lack of control by parents, adolescents' low-risk perception, low self-esteem and self-efficacy, as well as the increase of binge drinking in girls as part of the reduction of the gender gap, emerge as risk factors for binge drinking. Future health programmes aimed at reducing binge drinking should focus on enhancing motivational factors, self-esteem, and self-efficacy in adolescents; supervision and parental control; as well as pre-motivational factors by increasing knowledge and risk awareness, considering gender differences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3551
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2020


  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcoholic Intoxication
  • Binge Drinking
  • Ethanol
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Spain


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