Energy drink consumption predicts norm-breaking behavior in Swedish adolescents


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Publication Details

Author list: Gillander Gådin, Katja;Svensson, Åsa;Warne, Maria

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication year: 2018

Start page: 331

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cky260


Background: The health impact of adolescents’ consumption of energy drinks (ED) has been studied; however, previous research mainly used cross-sectional data. The aim of the present study was to describe the consumption of ED in a sample of Swedish adolescents in relation to self-reported health, support and norm-breaking behavior, and to investigate the longitudinal associations between ED consumption and norm-breaking behavior.

Methods: The study was carried out in a municipality in The North of Sweden in 2010-2011 and includes data from 1622 adolescents in grades 6-9 who completed a questionnaire in school. Frequency of ED consumption (never vs. ever) was calculated, and chi-square test and logistic regression were used to compare ED consumption with self-reported health, support and norm-breaking behavior (i.e., truancy, staying home from school to play computer games, the use of alcohol and tobacco, and not eating breakfast or lunch every school day).

Results: Preliminary results showed that boys consumed ED more frequently than girls: 74% of boys and 54% of girls reported to ever consume ED (P < 0.001). Frequency of ED consumption was associated with several variables related to self-reported low health, low support, and norm-breaking behavior. The associations were generally stronger among girls. Furthermore, ED consumption was a predictor of norm-breaking behavior one year later, except for not eating lunch every school day and the use of alcohol (for boys). Adjusted OR ranged from 2.02 (95% CI: 1.31, 3.10) (not eating breakfast every school day) to 4.98 (95% CI: 2.34, 10.63) (staying home from school to play computer games).

Conclusions: In this study, adolescents’ consumption of ED was associated with several undesirable conditions and behaviors. ED consumption may thus be an important target for health promotion in young people, especially since it can predict norm-breaking behavior later on.

Key messages: Adolescents who consume ED are more likely to engage in norm-breaking behavior compared to those who never consume ED, concurrently as well as a year later. The associations between ED consumption and undesirable behaviors and conditions were stronger for girls than boys, suggesting that the relatively smaller group of girls who use ED is more vulnerable.


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