Drinking Alcohol Drops among Preteens

Drinking alcoholic beverages among preadolescents has been dropping in the U.S. over a period of years, reports Dr. John E. Donovan of the University of Pittsburg Medical Center, who searched the research literature analyzed the results of the four nationwide and seven statewide studies that exist.

Between 1990 and 2004, there was a "significant decline over time for all grades in the prevalence of lifetime experience with alcohol" according to all the surveys. Similarly, the proportion of those who had consumed any alcohol in the prior year dropped about 50% between 1997-1998 and 2004-2005.

The proportion of fourth, fifth and sixth grade students who had ever tasted more than one sip of an alcoholic beverage fell 20% or one-fifth between 1993 and 1999 and the proportion who had consumed weekly dropped by over half during the same time period.

The national surveys were the National Survey of Parents and Youth (NSPY), the Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), and the PRIDE Surveys. The statewide surveys were conducted in New York, Texas, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, Delaware and Rhode Island.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


  • Donovan J. E., et al Really underage drinkers; The epidemiology of children's alcohol use in the United States. Prevention Science 2007; DOI: 10.1007/s11121-007-0072-7.