Binge drinking and associated risk behaviors amongst youth in three ethnic groups in Malaysia

  • S. Singh
  • K.H. Yap
  • P. Allotey
  • D.D. Reidpath


Objectives: To investigate alcohol consumption patterns and associated risk amongst youth. Methods: CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey was adapted and translated into Bahasa Malaysia. The self-administered questionnaire collated information on socio-demographics characteristics and risk behaviors associated with alcohol consumption. Stratified and convenience sampling was used to recruit youth across 6 sites, in Klang Valley, Malaysia. Study findings consisted of 326 respondents: 103 Malays, 111 Chinese and 112 Indians; with 171 (52%) male and 155 (48%) female. Results: Mean age of the respondents was 21 years. Current consumers, were 6 times more likely to ride in an alcohol influenced driver’s vehicle, and 10 times more likely to drive a vehicle themselves after consuming alcohol. Twenty percent of the youths surveyed are binge consumers: 79% of these binge drinkers were male. More then half (54%) of the binge drinkers were Indians followed by Chinese at 39% and Malays at 8%. Up to 44% of the youths were sexually active, highest proportion in binge drinkers (73%). Those who binge drink were nearly 3 times more likely to be forced into sexual intercourse(OR=2.79: 95%CI=1.02-7.65) and 3.5 times more likely forced to do sexual acts than non drinkers (OR=3.54: 95%CI=1.55-8.06). Binge consumers were also 17.5 times more likely to smoke compared to current consumers (OR=4.40 9% CI=1.48-1313). Conclusion: Binge consumption among youth is associated with a myriad of behavioral risk factors and alcohol-related negative consequences. Multiple strategic approaches that address respective ethnic groups, cultural norms and gender-based differences could improve the efficacy of preventive interventions.
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