Send to

Choose Destination
J Stud Alcohol. 2006 Jul;67(4):552-61.

A mixture model of discontinuous development in heavy drinking from ages 18 to 30: the role of college enrollment.

Author information

The Methodology Center, The Pennsylvania State University, 204 E. Calder Way, Suite 400, State College, Pennsylvania 16801, USA.



The purpose of this study was to illustrate the use of latent class analysis to examine change in behavior over time. Patterns of heavy drinking from ages 18 to 30 were explored in a national sample; the relationship between college enrollment and pathways of heavy drinking, particularly those leading to adult heavy drinking, was explored.


Latent class analysis for repeated measures is used to estimate common pathways through a stage-sequential process. Common patterns of development in a categorical variable (presence or absence of heavy drinking) are estimated and college enrollment is a grouping variable. Data were from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N=1,265).


Eight patterns of heavy drinking were identified: no heavy drinking (53.7%); young adulthood only (3.7%); young adulthood and adulthood (3.7%); college age only (2.6%); college age, young adulthood, and adulthood (8.7%); high school and college age (4.4%); high school, college age, and young adulthood (6.3%); and persistent heavy drinking (16.9%).


We found no evidence that prevalence of heavy drinking for those enrolled in college exceeds the prevalence for those not enrolled at any of the four developmental periods studied. In fact, there is some evidence that being enrolled in college appears to be a protective factor for young adult and adult heavy drinking. College-enrolled individuals more often show a pattern characterized by heavy drinking during college ages only, with no heavy drinking prior to and after the college years, whereas nonenrolled individuals not drinking heavily during high school or college ages are at increased risk for adult heavy drinking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dartmouth Journal Services
Loading ...
Support Center