Energy drink consumption among young Australian adults: Associations with alcohol and illicit drug use

Document Type

Journal Article




Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences




Trapp G.S.A., Allen K.L., O'Sullivan T., Robinson M., Jacoby P., Oddy W.H. (2014). Energy drink consumption among young Australian adults: Associations with alcohol and illicit drug use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 134(1), 30-37. Available here


Background: Energy drinks are becoming increasingly popular among young people. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of energy drink consumption and its associations with socio-demographic characteristics, alcohol, cigarette and illicit drug use in a population-based sample of young adults participating in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Methods: We used self-administered questionnaires to assess energy drink consumption patterns, alcohol intake, cigarette and illicit drug use at the 20-year cohort follow-up. Data was also collected on socio-demographics, physical activity, body mass index (BMI) and dietary intake. Our sample included 1234 participants (47% male, mean age 20. ±. 0.5 years). We considered energy-drink consumption as a categorical (users versus non-users) variable. Results: Overall, 48% of participants consumed energy drinks at least once per month, with an average intake of 1.31. ±. 0.75 cans per day amongst energy drink users. The most significant correlates of energy drink use were being in part-time or full-time employment, being male, being a cigarette smoker, having heavier alcoholic spirit consumption patterns and being an ecstasy user (all p<. 0.05). No significant associations were observed with BMI or dietary intake. Conclusions: Australian energy drink users tend to have heavier alcohol consumption patterns be a cigarette smoker and use illicit drugs relative to non-users. More research is needed regarding the health risks associated with energy drink use in young adults, including their possible role in the development of substance abuse problems.



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