Alcohol Use

Alcohol Use

Created Variables

FP_YYSUBSI; FP_YYSUBSI_DLI. Indicates respondent's level of substance use, with scores ranging from 0 to 3; higher scores indicate more instances of substance use since the date of the last interview. The Substance Use Index was created by Child Trends, Inc. and is available for rounds 1-4. The response to the "ever drank alcohol" question was used as part of the Substance Use Index. See the Codebook Supplement Appendix 9 for more information and statistical analysis.

In each survey round, respondents answered questions about alcohol use. The focus of the alcohol use section is the frequency of beverage consumption in a recent period.  An alcoholic beverage is defined as a can or bottle of beer, a glass of wine, a mixed drink, or a shot of liquor. 

The round 1 survey first established whether the respondent had ever consumed an alcoholic beverage and asked for the respondent's age the first time. The respondent is instructed not to include any "childhood sips that you may have had from an older person's drink." Respondents who answer don't know, or who refuse to answer this retrospective question, continue to receive the question in later rounds until a valid answer is given. If a respondent answers affirmatively to having ever consumed alcohol, but cannot or will not provide the age at which they first drank, they continue to receive the age question in subsequent rounds.  In rounds 2 and up, respondents who had previously provided a valid answer to the question about having ever consumed an alcoholic beverage were asked whether they had had a drink of an alcoholic beverage since the date of last interview.

In every survey, respondents who had consumed alcohol were asked a series of follow-up questions about the quantity and frequency of alcohol use in the 30 days prior to the interview: (1) the number of days the respondent had one or more alcoholic beverages, (2) how many drinks he or she usually had per day, and (3) the number of days the respondent had five or more drinks on the same occasion. 

In all rounds, the survey also elicited information on the number of days (in the 30 days prior to the interview) that the respondent had something alcoholic to drink right before or during school or work. In round 6 and rounds 11-14, respondents reported the number of times in the previous 30 days they had driven a vehicle while consuming alcohol as well as the number of times they had ridden in a vehicle driven by someone drinking alcohol.

Additional round 1 and round 6 questions gathered information on the respondent's perception of the effects of alcohol on various health conditions. Users can find a description of these questions in the Health: Conditions & Practices section.

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys: NLSY79 respondents have provided information about the quantity and frequency of their alcohol consumption in the 1982-85, 1988-89, 1992, 1994, 2002, and 2006 and up surveys; the Children of the NLSY79 ages 10 and older (including the Young Adults) responded to similar questions in 1988-2012. The 1989 and 1995-2003 interviews of the Mature Women, the 1991-2003 surveys of the Young Women, and the 1990 survey of Older Men also gathered data on the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption. For more information, refer to the appropriate cohort's User's Guide.

Survey Instruments: Questions on alcohol use are found in the self-administered section of the Youth Questionnaire. Question names begin with YSAQ.

Related User's Guide Sections Cigarette Use
Drug Use
Health: Conditions & Practices
Main Area of Interest Substance Use
Family Process Measures
Supplemental Areas of Interest Health