Education, safe drinking practices and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the Kimberley region of Western Australia

Phillip S. Kavanagh, Jennifer S. Payne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim: There are alarming rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the Kimberley region of Western Australia despite numerous international studies demonstrating the links between alcohol consumption during pregnancy and FASD. The aim of this research was to help determine factors that may be associated with correct knowledge about safe drinking practices during pregnancy, with these factors used to help inform future interventions. Method: Ninety-nine residents (40 males, 59 females, 39% of which self-identified as Indigenous) from the Kimberley region (Broome and smaller remote communities) completed a survey examining knowledge of currently recommended safe drinking practices during pregnancy and knowledge of the outcomes for children with FASD over a period of approximately 2 months. Results: The results revealed that education level (i.e. not completing high school through to completing university) is the biggest predictor (β = 0.44, P < 0.01) of knowledge of safe drinking practices during pregnancy, and having heard of FASD (β = 0.67, P < 0.001) was the biggest predictor of knowledge of outcomes for children with FASD. Other variables such as age, sex, Indigenous status and income level were not as important. Conclusions: These findings suggest that early education regarding the consequences of alcohol consumption for women of childbearing age should be paramount in this or similar communities. Suggestions for targeted interventions are discussed in light of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-706
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


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