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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Nov 1;98(1-2):136-43. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.05.011. Epub 2008 Jul 17.

The developmental origin of adolescent alcohol use: findings from the Mater University Study of Pregnancy and its outcomes.

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  • 1School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, QLD, Australia.



It is unclear whether fetal alcohol exposure contributes to alcohol use in adolescence. In this study, we examine the association between maternal alcohol use in pregnancy and adolescents' drinking patterns at age 14.


The association of maternal alcohol exposure with early drinking was examined in 4363 adolescents taking part to the Mater University Study of Pregnancy (MUSP) and its outcomes, a population based birth cohort study commenced in Brisbane (Australia) in 1981. Mothers and children were followed up at birth, 5 and 14 years after the initial interview. Maternal alcohol use was assessed before and during pregnancy and at the 5 years follow-up. Adolescents' alcohol use was assessed at child age 14.


In multivariable analysis those born of mothers who consumed 3+ glasses during pregnancy were at increased risk to report drinking 3+ glasses compared with those whose mothers reported no drinking or drinking up to 2 glasses. Comparisons controlling for drinking before pregnancy and at age 5 found the averaged odds ratio of maternal drinking in pregnancy on risk of reporting alcohol consumption of 3 and more glasses at age 14 was 2.74 (CI 1.70, 4.22).


Our study suggests that they maybe a biological origin of early drinking. Further studies are needed to better disentangle the nature of the association and the role of other possible confounding factors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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