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01-05-2014 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 5/2014

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2014

Childhood Predictors and Mid-Adolescent Correlates of Developmental Trajectories of Alcohol Use among Male and Female Youth

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2014
Auteurs:
Karina Weichold, Margit F. Wiesner, Rainer K. Silbereisen

Abstract

The identification of salient risk factors for alcohol consumption among male and female adolescents is an important topic not only for etiology research but also for designing effective gender-specific alcohol prevention programs for young people. This study examined the extent to which problematic alcohol use trajectories from ages 14 to 18 among male and female youth were related to childhood predictors assessed at age 9 (i.e., impulsivity, academic self-confidence, social problems with peers), socio-demographic variables, and mid-adolescent correlates [i.e., parental use, body mass index (BMI), risky peer context, conduct problems at school, parent–child relationship, somatic complaints]. Data analysis was based on a representative German longitudinal study (1986–1995, n = 1,619, 55 % female). Using growth mixture modeling methodology, associations of childhood predictors and mid-adolescent correlates to distinctive trajectories of alcohol use were examined for males and females separately. For males, a problematic consumption trajectory was associated with poor relationships to parents in adolescence and small community size. For females, low impulsivity during childhood, high BMI, and contact with deviant peers during adolescence predicted problematic as compared to normative alcohol use trajectories. Additionally, high parental alcohol use, low parental educational background, and conduct problems at school during adolescence were common predictors of a problematic alcohol use trajectory in both genders. The results provide insights regarding differences in the gender-typical development of adolescent alcohol use as well as stress the need of gender-specific intervention components along with universal prevention strategies against problematic consumption trajectories.

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