Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 10, pp 2073–2087 | Cite as

Neighborhood or School? Influences on Alcohol Consumption and Heavy Episodic Drinking Among Urban Adolescents

  • Willy Pedersen
  • Anders Bakken
  • Tilmann von Soest
Empirical Research


Little is known about the relative influences of neighborhood and school on the alcohol socialization process. Survey data from the Young in Oslo Study (N = 10,038, mean age 17.1 years, 52% girls) were used to investigate the details of such influences, using cross-classified multilevel models. School and neighborhood contexts were equally important for ordinary alcohol use; however, neighborhood influences were mainly explained by individual and family factors, whereas peer-based sociocultural processes played a key role in explaining school effects. Neither context had much impact on heavy episodic drinking. The study suggests that “privileged” youth may be at risk of high alcohol consumption. Parental influences and peer-based sociocultural aspects of the school milieu should be considered in prevention efforts.

Key words

Neighborhood School Alcohol Alcohol problems Cross-classified models 


Authors’ Contributions

W.P. conceived the study, participated in its design and coordination and led the drafting of the manuscript. A.B. led the data collection, participated in the design, performed the statistical analysis, participated in the interpretation of the results and helped to draft the manuscript. T.v.S. participated in the design, suggested appropriate statistical techniques, participated in the interpretation of the results and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Data Sharing Declaration

The data that support the findings of this study are available from Norwegian Social Research, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available.


The study received funding from Research Council of Norway (grant # 240129). Data collection was financed by the Municipality of Oslo and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All ethical aspects of the study were approved by the Norwegian Centre for Research Data.

Informed Consent

All parents and students were informed about the purpose of the study in advance and told that participation was voluntary. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Human GeographyUniversity of OsloBlindernNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Social ResearchOslo and Akershus University College of Applied SciencesOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloBlindernNorway
  4. 4.Norway and Norwegian Social ResearchOslo and Akershus University College of Applied SciencesStensberggataNorway

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