Australian Parental Supply of Alcohol Longitudinal Study (APSALS)

A longitudinal cohort of young people and their parents to investigate alcohol use and parental supply of alcohol


Parents can positively influence their children's alcohol use. One strategy they use is to provide their children with alcohol, believing it is the best way to teach their children how to drink responsibly. The impact of parental supply is not well understood and may be unintentionally harmful. This study will research the consequences of parental supply within the broader context of parent, child and peer relationships. It will help to determine how parental supply influences the different patterns of adolescent alcohol consumption over time, providing essential information to help parents prevent alcohol misuse in their children. Parents can play a pivotal role in prevention of alcohol misuse, but at present we don't know exactly how.


This study investigates the impact of parental supply of alcohol on drinking trajectories in Australian adolescents, including how parental supply of alcohol relates to the acceleration or deceleration of harmful drinking trajectories, and how other related factors may mediate and moderate the relationship. 

Design and Method

From 2010 to 2011, families were recruited from Grade 7 classes across 49 schools in NSW, TAS and WA. 1,927 eligible families agreed to participate and have thus far been followed up annually to complete surveys since 2010. Surveys address areas related to quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption (including supply, supervision and context of supply and consumption), parental modelling of alcohol use, family and peer relationships, family history of alcohol-related problems, alcohol-specific rules and access, and mental health and behavioural problems. Latent growth curve modelling will be used to analyse the longitudinal data.

Current Progress

As of November 2019, 79.7% of the original sample have completed their 9th annual survey, which is improved retention compared to the 7th (77.5%) and 8th (73.4%) annual survey waves. The 10th wave of surveys are currently underway and we expect data collection for this wave to be completed by late 2020. Analyses have been presented at national and international conferences and several peer-reviewed publications have been published. Further analyses are ongoing with a range of papers being drafted for other peer-review publications. The National Health and Medical Research Council is funding the project from 2018-2022, which allows us to continue following these families until participants are aged approximately 23-24 years old.  This has established our cohort as an international landmark study, allowing us to answer the important question of how parental supply of alcohol in early adolescence impacts upon alcohol use and harms in late adolescence and early adulthood.

Project team

Ms Alexandra Emily Aiken
Faculty of Medicine
Dr Amy Kathleen Peacock
Faculty of Medicine
Mr Philip James Clare
Faculty of Medicine
Ms Wing See Yuen
Faculty of Medicine
Dr Veronica Clare Boland
Faculty of Medicine

Project collaborators: External

Professor Jakob Najman
Queensland Alcohol & Drug Research and Education Centre, University of Queensland
Associate Professor Kypros Kypri
School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle
Dr Nyanda McBride
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University
Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno
School of Psychology, University of Tasmania
Dr Delyse Hutchinson
School of Psychology, Deakin University
Associate Professor John Horwood
University of Otago, New Zealand
Professor Jim McCambridge
University of York, UK
Associate Professor Tim Slade
The Matilda Centre, University of Sydney
Dr Monika Wadolowski
School of Women's & Children's Health, University of New South Wales

Key contact

Faculty of Medicine
+61 (2) 9385 0333

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