• adolescents;
  • alcohol;
  • peer


This study investigated the alcohol consumption of secondary education students and their relationship to school life and leisure time use with peers. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in March 2007, and the study population consisted of 14- to 19-year-old students living in an agricultural area of Crete. The final sample consisted of 117 individuals (response rate 90.0%). A short previously validated self-completion questionnaire was used collecting information on: personal and family characteristics; school progress; leisure time activities and relations with other adolescents; and alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption differed significantly between male (75.5%) and female (25.8%) students (P < 0.001). Almost half of the participants (48.3%) reported alcohol consumption during nights out with friends. The mean grade for the previous year for students consuming alcohol was lower compared with those who did not, but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.066). Statistical evidence supported the hypothesis that students who consumed alcohol had more absences and this association was stronger for male students. The frequency of alcohol consumption was found to relate to the number of absences for both sexes. Male students who had been suspended from school were more likely to drink alcohol than those who had not been suspended. Statistical evidence also supported the hypotheses that students who spent their free time in cafeterias, bars or billiard halls were more likely to drink alcohol and also consume alcohol at higher frequencies than those that did not spend their free time this way (P = 0.002 and P < 0.001, respectively). More health education programmes and actions are needed at the national and local level to help students, families, schools, communities and the state better understand the real dimensions of the problem.