Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version



Feng and Newman Archives of Public Health (2016) 74:45


© The Author(s). 2016 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Objective: A profile of adolescent alcohol use for China that specified gender, school type and a consistent definition of alcohol use.

Method: A total of 1,646 papers were identified in the Chinese- and English-language literature published 2007–2015 that reported Chinese adolescent drinking rates. Selection criteria were established a priori. Thirty-two papers met all the selection criteria. Five papers were eliminated because they were found to be duplicate reports of the same data.

Result: The resulting sample included 26 papers—24 in Chinese and two in English, 20 describing middle school students, 12 describing high school students, and six describing vocational high school students. Eleven papers described students in more than one type of school. Last 30 day use of alcohol was, as expected, highest among vocational high school students (44.7 % males, 28.8 % females) and drinking rates were higher for high school students (36.5 % males, 21.2 % females) than for middle school students (23.6 % males, 15.3 % females). Meta-regression identified factors associated with differences in drinking rates reported in individual studies as the definition of a drink and whether data were collected by trained personnel. Location appeared important, but its effects were inconsistent across different populations, which suggests that national estimates likely blur regional differences in patterns of alcohol use.

Conclusion: Rates derived from this meta-analysis provide a useful reference for scholars interested in China, alcohol use, adolescents, and patterns of use. The meta-regression analysis suggested practical ways to improve adolescent alcohol surveys in China.