Adolescent Alcohol Use in Rural Areas: What Are the Issues?

Research center:
Project funded:
September 2008
Project completed:
June 2012
Problem: Previous research has shown that rural adolescents are more likely to use alcohol than those in urban areas adolescents and that the more rural the area, the higher the use. Moreover, current knowledge suggests that risk and protective factors may operate differently for rural adolescents.

Methods: This study will use five years of NSDUH pooled data to examine the underlying factors that account for urban-rural and intra-rural differences in adolescent alcohol use and how this knowledge may be used to develop targeted alcohol prevention and intervention programs for rural youth. The specific research questions we wish to address are:

  • What are the prevalence and use patterns of adolescent alcohol (e.g. rates of past month use, age of first use, binge and heavy drinking and driving under the influence) across the urban-rural continuum? Do prevalence rates and use patterns vary by age, gender, ethnicity/race, and geographic region?
  • What is relationship of developmental, individual, and environmental factors on adolescent alcohol use across the urban rural continuum?
  • What is the relationship and relative importance of, key protective and risk factors in explaining intra-rural variations in adolescent alcohol use? Do these factors vary by age, gender, ethnicity, and geographic region?
  • How may this information inform the development of prevention and early intervention strategies targeting rural areas and populations?