Personality Predictors of the Development of Elementary School Children's Intentions to Drink Alcohol: The Mediating Effects of Attitudes and Subjective Norms


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Abstract

The authors tested a mediation model in which childhood hostility and sociability were expected to influence the development of intentions to use alcohol in the future through the mediating mechanisms of developing attitudes and norms. Children in 1st through 5th grades (N = 1,049) from a western Oregon community participated in a longitudinal study involving 4 annual assessments. Hostility and sociability were assessed by teachers' ratings at the 1st assessment, and attitudes, subjective norms, and intentions were assessed by self-report at all 4 assessments. For both genders, latent growth modeling demonstrated that sociability predicted an increase in intentions to use alcohol over time, whereas hostility predicted initial levels of these intentions. These personality effects were mediated by the development of attitudes and subjective norms, supporting a model wherein childhood personality traits exert their influence on the development of intentions to use alcohol through the development of these more proximal cognitions.

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