B4216 - Is former alcohol use from ages 15-18 associated with subsequent depressive symptoms at age 25 - 21/12/2022

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Alexandria Andrayas | School of Psychological Science
Professor Marcus Munafo, Rhianna Wood
Title of project: 
Is former alcohol use from ages 15-18 associated with subsequent depressive symptoms at age 25?
Proposal summary: 

Alcohol is one of the most widely consumed drugs globally. A body of evidence suggests a link between underage alcohol consumption and an increased risk of depressive disorders; however, the direction of causality is unknown. Previous research has mostly focused on how mental health induces drug use through self-medication; however, the inverse direction of causation is focused on in this investigation. To better understand and assess the magnitude of this link, we focused on whether regular alcohol consumption between the ages of 15 and 18 is associated with eventual depressive symptoms in the mid-20s. This association will be facilitated by a cohort study that uses questionnaires and self-report measures to follow individuals over a 30 year period.

Impact of research: 
Depression is a growing public health issue causing both physical and social suffering. Understanding the potential impacts of underage drinking and its effects on mental health is crucial for developing evidence-based policies and preventative measures. By employing novel methods and approaches to causal inference, this study is expected to advance our current understanding of the relationship between underage alcohol use and depression. This study’s findings are expected to influence alcohol policy and educate/ warn adolescents about the mental dangers of underage consumption.
Date proposal received: 
Sunday, 11 December, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 21 December, 2022