More than 10,000 youths aged 15 to 16 were quizzed in the north-west of the UK as part of Liverpool John Moores University's report.
Nine out of ten teenagers said they drank alcohol, while 38 per cent admitted to binge drinking.
But respondents who said they bought their own alcoholic drinks were found to be six times more likely to drink in public.
Today's research, published in the Online Open Access journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy, also shows that children who are members of youth groups or who had alcohol bought for them by parents were more likely to drink sensibly.
The authors from Liverpool John Moores University write that alcohol is becoming one of the "major threats to young people's health in many developed countries".
"Here, we have shown strong links between the risky consumption of alcohol and factors such as expendable income and underage sales," they continue.
"In turn such intelligence points towards a series of interventions including: limiting and monitoring young people's funds; increasing costs of alcohol; providing and promoting participation in sporting and other social activities for youths; and identifying and closing all retailers selling to those underage."
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