Ecological perspectives on youth alcohol consumption in the Kuala Lumpur conurbation: a place-based study in Malaysia
Singh, Sangeeta Kaur
Kaen, Lee Voon
Hei, Low Weng
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Singh, S.K., Kaen, L.V., Hei, L.W., Villiers-Tuthill, A., Allotey, P. and Reidpath, D.D. (2019) ‘Ecological perspectives on youth alcohol consumption in the Kuala Lumpur conurbation: a place-based study in Malaysia’, International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 31(6). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0062.
Objective The objectives of this study were to investigate the patterns of alcohol consumption and ecological factors influencing those patterns in the Klang Valley. The study focuses on youth from the Chinese, Indian and Malay ethnic groups in Malaysia, resident in urban and semi-urban areas of the Klang Valley. Methods Data were collected with a combination of interviews and self-administered questionnaires available in Bahasa Malaysia and English were adapted from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The study sample consisted of 326 respondents: 103 Malays, 111 Chinese and 112 Indians. There were 171 males and 155 females, with mean age of 20.56 and 20.59 years, respectively, were identified by convenience sampling in six sites. Results A combination of at least one family member and one friend who consumed alcohol was a significant driver of alcohol use: 80% in this category had tried alcohol; 55% were current drinkers; and 35% were binge drinkers. With at least one family member, the respective figures were 72%, 48%, and 30%; and with at least one friend, but no family pattern of consumption, the figures dropped to 64%, 42% and 26%, respectively. With respect to ethnicity, 72% of Chinese youth had tried alcohol or were current drinkers (49%). The figure was lower for Indian youth (47% and 37%, respectively) and Malay youth (15% and 9%, respectively). In the binge drinking category, however, the highest figures were from the Indian youth (31%) followed by Chinese youth (23%) and significantly less in Malay youth (5%). Alcohol consumption was consistently higher among males: 54% had tried alcohol, 44% were current drinkers, and 30% were binge drinkers, compared to 36%, 18% and 9% of female youth, respectively. Conclusion Family alcohol consumption patterns were most strongly associated with consumption patterns which varied across the three ethnic groups. Family education regarding family influence on youth’s alcohol consumption patterns is warranted.