The cultural context of adolescent drinking and violence in 30 European countries
Cross-national variation in the effect of alcohol on adolescent violence is examined with survey data from 30 European countries. The data are analyzed using a method that makes it possible to isolate the nonspurious portion of the alcohol-violence relationship in different countries. In addition, multilevel models are used to estimate the effects of region and contextual measures of adolescent drinking on the alcohol-violence relationship. The evidence suggests that drinking has a strong effect on adolescent violence in the Nordic and Eastern European countries but has little or no effect in the Mediterranean countries. In the Mediterranean countries, where adolescents drink frequently but in moderation, the relationship between alcohol use and violence is almost entirely spurious. Findings suggest that the observed pattern is due to regional differences in the tendency for adolescents and their peers to drink to intoxication, as well as in their tendency to become intoxicated in settings where adult guardianship is absent.