Where and how adolescents obtain alcoholic beverages

A. C. Wagenaar, J. R. Finnegan, M. Wolfson, P. S. Anstine, C. L. Williams, C. L. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Patterns of acquisition of alcoholic beverages by underage youth were studied, using focus group methods with a sample of midwestern youth. Results showed that the alcohol initially used by those in their early teens is obtained from parents' stocks or from older siblings and friends. By the mid- teens, parties at which alcohol (usually beer) is readily available become the major source. In the mid to late teens, young people purchase alcohol from commercial alcohol outlets, despite the fact that 21 is the legal age for purchasing alcohol. Factors reported to increase the rate of successful alcohol purchases include female buyer, male seller, young seller, and convenience store outlet. Results of focus group interviews revealed the easy accessibility of alcoholic beverages to underage youth. Further investigation into patterns of underage access to alcohol is recommended, with results from the focus group study guiding the design of probability sample studies to assess their generalizability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-464
Number of pages6
JournalPublic health reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993


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