Introduction: Structured and unstructured leisure are known protective and risk factors, respectively, for alcohol consumption during adolescence. However, little is known about the interaction between the two leisure types and alcohol consumption.
Method: A cross-sectional study was performed among high-school students in El Salvador and Peru. Schooled adolescents, aged 13¿18 (N=5,640), completed a self-administered questionnaire about risk behaviors, including their leisure activities and whether they had consumed alcoholic beverages. They were classified into tertiles of the amount of time of both structured and unstructured activities. A non-conditional multivariate logistic regression was conducted to evaluate the association of both types of leisure with alcohol consumption. We also used a likelihood ratio test to assess the potential interaction of structured and unstructured leisure time in alcohol consumption.
Results: Alcohol consumption was much more frequent among adolescents in the highest tertile of unstructured leisure time compared to the lowest one, and less frequent among those from the highest tertile of structured leisure time compared to the lowest one. We did not find an interaction effect between structured and unstructured leisure time with regard to initiation of alcohol consumption.
Discussion: The study suggests that structured leisure is not enough to compensate for the possible harmful effect of unstructured leisure. Parents, educators and policy