Robert A. Kerr


Per capita alcohol consumption by Irish teenagers has doubled over the past three decades. There has also been a doubling of the suicide rate among young men. The aim of this study was to measure the correlation between alcohol consumption and negative mood (as measured by elements of the Beck Depression Inventory) in a sample (n = 169) of final-year secondary school male students. A questionnaire was devised to ascertain frequency, type and quantity of alcohol consumed, as well as attitudes towards drinking in general. The questionnaire also assessed overall mood disturbance, and these two sets of results were analysed and correlation coefficients calculated. It was found that both alcohol consumption and mood disturbance varied widely throughout the sample and that total alcohol consumption correlated weakly but significantly with overall mood disturbance. However, there was a stronger, more significant correlation between frequency of feeling drunk and mood disturbance, indicating a much greater effect on the teenagers’ mood from binge drinking than from consistently drinking the same quantity of alcohol.