Perceptions of Alcohol and Alcohol Use among Community Members and Young Adults in Ukraine

A. Toornstra*, K. Massar, P.P.M. Hurks, M.M.M.S. Timmermans, G. Kok, L.M.G. Curfs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Unhealthy alcohol use is a public health issue, prioritized by the World Health Organization (WHO) for prevention and reduction. Ukraine falls in the highest WHO category of "years of life lost" due to alcohol use. Objective: To investigate perceptions of alcohol consumption in a sample of youth and adults in western Ukraine. Methods: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 adult stakeholders (aged 21-63 years), and 81 adolescents and young adults (aged 12-21 years) completed paper-and-pencil open-ended questions. A combined deductive-inductive thematic analysis of these qualitative data resulted in an initial coding scheme for both parts of the data. These initial codes were organized into patterns, which were further condensed to four themes. Results: The four themes that were developed are: (1) The general historical, socio-economic-political situation and its relation to alcohol use, (2) Alcohol in the home and daily environment, (3) Alcohol use, related feelings, peers, family, and burden to health, and (4) Perceptions of the consequences of alcohol (mis)use. Conclusions: Respondents indicated awareness that daily consumption, also in youth, as well as binge drinking and childhood sipping constitute a risk to health. These risks were described in the context of easy availability, low pricing, and peer pressure. The respondents mentioned awareness that alcohol dependence (AD) of parents affected families with the risk of disadvantageous child development. Interventions may include targeting current norms, stigmatizing beliefs and supporting subjects in developing coping skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269-1279
Number of pages11
JournalSubstance Use & Misuse
Issue number8
Early online date16 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Alcohol dependence
  • alcohol related disease and harm
  • Ukraine
  • norms
  • health beliefs
  • stigma

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