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  • Lauri Beekmann

Positive alcohol trends among youth and peer pressure: Greater acceptance of staying sober at parties


Maria Wangberg, a high school graduate this year at Sandefjord High School

14.05.2024 - Blue Cross Norway (Blå Kors) has conducted a survey on peer pressure related to alcohol consumption among young people aged 16 to 19. One of the findings from the survey indicates a greater acceptance of saying no to alcohol at parties, compared to previous surveys. "But there is still a great need to talk more about alcohol and peer pressure," says Maria, a high school graduate in Sandefjord.


"There is an alarmingly high focus on illegal drugs during the graduation period, and too little on alcohol. This is a general societal problem, not just something that happens on graduation buses," says Maria Wangberg, a high school graduate this year at Sandefjord High School. She points out that the graduation period does not only last for 30 days but for 1000, and that the pressure to drink starts long before turning 18.


"We need to talk more about peer pressure among graduates," says Wangberg.


The survey, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Blå Kors, addresses peer pressure, alcohol use, and other substance use among young people aged 16 to 19.


Blå Kors advisor, Hanne Backe-Hansen, highlights some positive trends suggesting that the acceptance of saying no to alcohol may have improved.


The survey reveals that 49 percent of young people aged 16-19 agree that it is more accepted to be drunk than to say no to alcohol at parties. However, in 2022, 58 percent held this view.


Despite this positive trend, Blå Kors believes it is still important to discuss alcohol and peer pressure among today's youth.


"This is a very positive trend, but expectations around alcohol during the graduation period and in social settings are still high. 72 percent of those aged 16 to 19 believe it is expected to drink alcohol during the graduation period. Additionally, 18 percent believe it is expected to try substances other than alcohol during this time," says Backe-Hansen.


Less attention on alcohol

Backe-Hansen believes it is important to focus on illegal drugs but also emphasizes that alcohol unfortunately receives too little attention, both in the media and among parents.


"Alcohol is the substance that causes the most significant health and social problems in society, yet it receives little attention compared to other substances."


Those most at risk are those who consume large amounts of alcohol over time and/or have high consumption per occasion.


"By preventing high and risky alcohol use, we can imagine that we also prevent drug use," she concludes.


Survey data on peer pressure among young people aged 16-19

  • 29% of those aged 16 to 19 report experiencing peer pressure to drink. (Girls aged 16 to 19 experience slightly more pressure (33%) than boys (26%), but the difference is relatively small.)

  • 72% believe it is expected to drink alcohol during the graduation period.

  • 18% think it is expected to use substances other than alcohol during the graduation period.

  • 64% believe it is expected to drink alcohol at parties.

  • 49% believe it is more accepted to be drunk than to say no to alcohol. (In 2022, 58% held this view, which may indicate that the acceptance of saying no to alcohol has improved.)


 

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