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Subst Use Misuse. 2005;40(8):1139-51.

Telescoping of drinking-related behaviors: gender, racial/ethnic, and age comparisons.

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Dept. of Human Development and Learning, Dowling College, Oakdale, NY 11769, USA.



To examine demographic differences in alcohol telescoping-the rate of self-reported movement from regular alcohol consumption to the onset of regular heavy drinking-as well as differences in ages of initiation of regular alcohol use and alcohol use to intoxication.


The present study compared the retrospective reports of 2037 clients (1252 males, 785 females) enrolled in substance user treatment facilities around the country in 1998 and 1999.


Overall, the findings support previous research, indicating that women generally move more rapidly than men from initiation of regular alcohol use to problem use (telescoping). The findings also indicate that African-Americans generally begin regular alcohol use later than their Anglo counterparts and move more rapidly from initiation of regular alcohol use to problem use (telescoping). Examining the sample by older vs. younger age groups demonstrates that gender and racial/ethnic differences in the age of initiation of regular alcohol use and in telescoping may be limited by age group, as these patterns appear in the older but not the younger cohort.


These findings suggest that self-reported regular alcohol use, alcohol abuse, and telescoping differences vary dramatically by gender, race/ethnicity, and age cohort. Furthermore, the pattern of findings suggests that these differences are more likely the result of sociocultural than biological differences between the groups under study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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