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Source: Western Psychological Association
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Ham-Rowbottom, Kathleen A.
Emptage, Nicholas P.
Prause, JoAnn
Dooley, David
Symptomatic Repercussions of Early Drinking Onset: Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
Presented: Irvine, CA, Western Psychological Association Convention, April 2002
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Western Psychological Association
Keyword(s): Adolescent Behavior; Alcohol Use

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Early drinking onset is often associated with problematic drinking behaviors later in life, but whether this connection is spurious or causal remains unclear. We address this problem using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), a panel that when 18 - 25 years old retrospectively reported drinking onset (often when they were early adolescents or children). Seven years later, DSM-IV criteria were used to characterize problematic drinking in this panel. Respondents were 29 - 37 years old in 1994 when information on alcohol symptoms was acquired (n=5,656). NLSY items that were comparable to the alcohol abuse and dependence symptom criteria in the DSM-IV were matched to the symptom criteria for these disorders.

The odds of developing symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence were assessed for respondents who reported early alcohol drinking onset (ADO) in both of two early drinking groups (prior to 14 years-old and between 15-16 years-old), controlling for potential confounding variables (e.g., family history of alcoholism). In an attempt to identify the mechanism by which early ADO influences later alcohol disorder, we also investigated potential mediating variables (e.g., years of education, mental health indicators).

Multinomial logistic regression analyses revealed that controlling both confounding and mediating variables, early ADO remained significantly associated with the risk of both alcohol dependence and abuse. Relative to respondents 17 years old or older, the odds of alcohol abuse or dependence were two to two-and-a-half times greater for ADO of 14 years old or younger. The odds of alcohol dependence were greater for those ever charged with an illegal act, for increased depression, and for a family history of alcoholism. The odds of alcohol dependence fell with additional children in the household, with increases in education, and with increases in self-esteem

One implication of this research is to raise questions about the reliab ility of retrospective recall of ADO and to suggest inquiring earlier when young people are nearer in age to their actual ADO. Another preliminary implication is to support interventions targeted at delaying ADO as a means of preventing adult alcohol disorder.

Bibliography Citation
Ham-Rowbottom, Kathleen A., Nicholas P. Emptage, JoAnn Prause and David Dooley. "Symptomatic Repercussions of Early Drinking Onset: Alcohol Abuse and Dependence." Presented: Irvine, CA, Western Psychological Association Convention, April 2002.