TYPOLOGIES OF ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION IN ADOLESCENCE: PREDICTORS AND ADULT OUTCOMES

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Abstract

Aims

Data from the 1970 British Cohort Study were used to examine the effects of alcohol expectancies, norms, and openness of communication with parents on typologies of adolescent alcohol use and the subsequent risk of adult alcohol misuse from adolescent use.

Methods

Of a population originally defined as all children born in the UK in 1 week of April 1970, 69.4% were interviewed at age 16 and 70.1% at age 30. Missing information was imputed using the multivariate imputation by chained equation (MICE) method, yielding a sample size of 7023 for men and 6896 for women. Four adolescent drinking typologies were defined by frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption at age 16.

Results

Positive alcohol expectancies predicted all types of adolescent alcohol use in young men and women. Norms affected frequency of alcohol use over quantity, while openness of communication with parents affected quantity of alcohol use. All men who drank alcohol in adolescence were at risk of alcohol misuse (defined by the CAGE questionnaire) in adulthood, whereas the risk for women was limited to frequent drinkers.

Conclusions

Drinking typologies were useful for understanding the mechanisms of adolescent alcohol use. Early prevention may be required to reduce alcohol related problems in later life.

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