Caffeine Consumption and Onset of Alcohol Use Among Early Adolescents
Preventing or delaying the onset of alcohol use among children and youth is an important public health goal. One possible factor in alcohol use onset among early adolescents is caffeine. The aim of this study was to assess the possible contribution of caffeine to the onset of alcohol use during early adolescence. We used data from the Young Mountaineer Health Study Cohort. Survey data were collected from 1349 (response rate: 80.7%) 6th grade students (mean age at baseline 11.5 years) in 20 middle schools in West Virginia during the fall of 2020, and again approximately 6 months later in spring of 2021. We limited our analyses to students reporting never having used any form of alcohol at baseline. Logistic regression was employed in multivariable analyses and both Odds Ratios and Relative Risks reported. At follow-up, almost 14% of participants reported having consumed alcohol at least once and 57% used caffeine of 100 mg + daily. In multivariable analyses we controlled for social and behavioral variables known to impact tobacco use. Caffeine use was operationalized as a three-level factor: no use, < 100 mg per day, and 100 + mg per day, with the latter being the approximate equivalent of the minimum of a typical cup of coffee or can of energy drink. Caffeine use of 100 mg + per day was significantly related to alcohol use at 6-months follow-up (OR: 1.79, RR: 1.56, p = .037). We conclude that caffeine consumption among 11–12-year-old adolescents may be a factor in early onset of alcohol use.
Kristjansson, Alfgeir L.; Mann, Michael J.; Smith, Megan L.; Cogan, Steven M.; Lilly, Christa L.; and James, Jack E. (2022). "Caffeine Consumption and Onset of Alcohol Use Among Early Adolescents". Preventive Medicine, 163, 107208. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2022.107208