Zhang Xiaoyu, a PhD student in the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong. She is interested in the fields of alcohol drinking and smoking. One of her projects aimed to investigate the association between alcohol drinking and adverse health in adolescents. Recently, she is also involved in smoking projects. She focuses on examining the tobacco use-related attitudes, intentions, behaviors in Hong Kong, especially the use pattern of electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products. In the future, she will access the need for new or more stringent tobacco control policies, aiming to reduce tobacco use prevalence in Hong Kong.
Light drinking was associated with depressive symptoms in Hong Kong secondary school students
To investigate the association between light drinking and depressive symptoms in Hong Kong adolescents.
In a 2012-13 school-based survey, the associations of depressive symptoms with various drinking patterns were examined using multilevel logistic regression accounting for school clustering, sociodemographic characteristics, academic performance, smoking and drug use.
20951 secondary school students (aged 11-20 years, 48.7% girls).
Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-2. Drinking status (lifetime abstainers, former, and present drinkers), drinking frequency (less than monthly, monthly, and weekly drinking) and quantity (less than half a drink, half a drink, 1-2 drinks, and 3 drinks and more), and types of alcohol consumed were recorded. A single index combining drinking frequency and quantity was used to test the threshold of drinking for depressive symptoms. Lifetime abstainers were used as the reference group.
Findings and Conclusions:
Depressive symptoms were associated with less-than-monthly drinking (adjusted odds ratio 1.37, 95% CI 1.24-1.51) and consuming less than half a drink (1.30, 1.15-1.46). Even students with the lowest alcohol consumption level by frequency (less than monthly) and quantity (less than half a drink) were associated with depressive symptoms (1.29, 1.14-1.46). Consuming beverages with lower alcohol contents such as fruit wine (1.28, 1.13-1.46) and beer (1.58, 1.41-1.76) were associated with depressive symptoms, although the association was even stronger for spirits (1.91, 1.42-2.57). Even light drinking was associated with depressive symptoms in Hong Kong secondary school students, indicating no safe level of alcohol consumption.