Research has proven that a number of approaches are effective in reducing and preventing
underage drinking, from legislative approaches (i.e., environmental prevention)
to parental involvement. For more information about the current status of prevention
policies and programs in your state, see the
state profiles from the 2013 Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction
of Underage Drinking.
Environmental prevention focuses on changing the environment in ways that make alcohol
less available and appealing to young people. Some goals of environmental prevention
are to change social norms or attitudes relating to the use of alcohol, to control
the availability of alcohol, and to strengthen enforcement of laws and regulations
governing its use.
Brief descriptions of several evidence-based environmental prevention approaches
Parents have a significant influence on a child’s decisions about alcohol use, especially
when parents create supportive and nurturing environments in which their children
can make their own decisions. In fact, around 80 percent of adolescents feel that
parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol.
Parental attitudes toward underage drinking continue to influence a child’s decisions
about alcohol use at college. In one study, college students whose parents had disapproved
of underage drinking during their high school years were less likely to misuse alcohol
during their college years, while students whose parents had allowed any alcohol
use during high school drank significantly more and experienced significantly more
negative consequences from alcohol use.
1 These factsheets are based on information
previously published in Imm, P., Chinman, M., Wandersman, A., Rosenbloom, D., Guckenburg,
S., & Leis, R. (2007). Preventing Underage Drinking: Using Getting to Outcomes™ with the SAMHSA Strategic Prevention
Framework to Achieve Results. RAND, No. TR-403-SAMHSA. Santa Monica, CA: