|About the Book|
Heavy alcohol consumption is a widespread activity among Estonian adolescents that can lead to a range of undesirable outcomes. Despite the high and growing rates of problem drinking, little is known about factors that are associated with an increased or decreased risk of alcohol misuse for adolescents living in this region of the world. The aim of this study is to: (1) examine how a wide range of psychosocial factors within and across individual, peer, family, school, and community domains relate to problem drinking in a sample of Estonian youth, and (2) to identify those risk and protective factors that have the strongest relationship with problem drinking.-The study sample included 9th-grade students from 20 urban and rural public schools located in south-central Estonia. A total of 486 students (51.5% male) with an average age of 15.1 years filled out anonymous paper-pencil surveys administered in a classroom setting in the fall of 2007. Descriptive statistics and binary logistic regression were used to analyze the data.-The prevalence rates of past month heavy episodic drinking and drunkenness in this sample of youth were 49% and 27%, respectively. Bivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that higher exposure to the majority of the 27 individual, peer, family, school, and community risk factors and 12 protective factors assessed in this study was significantly associated with past month problem drinking in the expected direction. Depressive tendencies, low neighborhood attachment, community disorganization, personal involvement in prosocial activities, and opportunities and rewards for prosocial community involvement were not significantly related to heavy episodic drinking or drunkenness. Early initiation of substance use and personal attitudes favoring substance use emerged as the strongest shared risk factors for past month heavy episodic drinking and drunkenness in multivariate logistic regression analyses, after adjusting for the influence of other risk and protective factors, and demographic background characteristics. Limitations of this exploratory study are discussed, and implications for future research and social work practice presented.