Parental drinking in Australia: Does the age of children in the home matter?

Jacqueline Bowden, Paul Delfabbro, Robin Room, Caroline Miller, Carlene Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction and Aims: Parental role modelling of alcohol use is known to influence alcohol consumption in adolescence and in later life. This study aimed to assess relationships between parental status, child age and alcohol consumption, which have not been well documented. Design and Methods: Data were sourced from the 2013 Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Analyses were conducted for 25–55 year olds (n = 11 591) by parental status, gender and age of youngest child in the household, controlling for socio-demographic factors. Results: Parents were less likely than non-parents to exceed the alcohol guideline for increased lifetime risk (18.2% vs. 24.2%) and short-term risk: at least weekly (14.2% vs. 21.2%); and at least monthly (27.5% vs. 35.9%). Fathers were just as likely to exceed the guidelines for lifetime risk as other men, but those with children aged 0–2, were less likely to exceed the guideline for short-term risk. Women were least likely to exceed the guideline for lifetime risk if they had children aged 0–2, 6–11 or 15 years and over, or the guideline for short-term risk, if they had children aged 0–2, or 15 years and over in the household. Parents were more likely to report drinking in the home. Discussion and Conclusions: Parents were less likely to exceed alcohol guidelines than non-parents, especially mothers whose youngest child was an infant or in high school or older. Consistent with population rates in men, fathers were more likely to exceed alcohol guidelines than mothers, and this excess consumption warrants public health attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-315
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and alcohol review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Mar 2019


  • alcohol
  • consumption
  • parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)

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