Familial drinking in Italy: Harmful or protective factors?

Aims: This study examined relations between cultural norms and drinking practices in Italian young people using qualitative interviewing techniques. We collected self-report drinking history information from young people including whether or not they were allowed alcohol with meals in a family setting when growing up. Methods: We conducted ethnographic interviews of 80 adolescent (ages 16-18) and 80 young adult (ages 25-30) regular and heavy drinkers in two regions (Abruzzo and Umbria). All 20 Italian regions produce wine. Abruzzo has a high ratio of heavy drinkers while Umbria has a high ratio of regular drinkers. We used the AUDIT to determine eligibility. We queried age at first drink, first 5+, first drunk, context of drinking, drinking with family during meals, availability of alcohol at home, parent's relationship to, attitudes about and discussion about alcohol. Results: Half of regular and heavy drinkers were allowed alcohol in a family setting while growing up. Those allowed alcohol with meals when growing up consumed less on their first drink occasion and were more likely to never drink 5+ or get drunk than those not allowed. They also had reduced or delayed 5+ or drunk occasions. Conclusions: In Italy the tradition of incorporating alcohol with meals in a family setting may protect against harmful drinking. Other qualitative research should explore family, other adult and peer relationships to clarify alcohol use and risk-related behaviors. Research in countries with similar and different early age introduction would increase knowledge about the protective aspect of drinking in a family setting.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Lee Strunin Kirstin Lindeman Enrico Tempesta Pierluigi Ascani Simona Anav LucaParisi
  • Issue

    Addiction Research & Theory, pages 344-358 / volume 18
  • Published Date