Alcoholic beverages consumption by adolescents is a global problem with repercussion on different social sectors. However, the reasons that cause this behavior are still little studied. This qualitative research aimed to understand the socially constructed representations of adolescents about the consumption of alcoholic beverages, in a Family Health Unit in the city of Feira de Santana, state of Bahia, Brazil. Subjects were twenty-one adolescents of both genders. Observation, focus groups and semi-structured interviews were used for data collection, followed by interpretation of meanings as data analysis. Results showed that this practice represents "to drink much", which is close to the concept of binge drinking and "to be in the group", evidencing the socializing character of drinking. It also means a rite of passage. Among the factors that influence this representation, adults' attitudes to alcohol, especially the father and media, are highlighted. It is concluded that this substance represents a symbolic capital, with contradictions regarding the issue, precariousness of protective factors and existence of vulnerability factors. Rethinking adolescent-targeted and alcohol-related public policies is needed.
Adolescent; Alcoholic beverages and social representations