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Pediatrics. 2008 Apr;121 Suppl 4:S273-89. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-2243C.

Transitions into underage and problem drinking: developmental processes and mechanisms between 10 and 15 years of age.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd NE, Room 520, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Numerous developmental changes occur across levels of personal organization (eg, changes related to puberty, brain and cognitive-affective structures and functions, and family and peer relationships) in the age period of 10 to 15 years. Furthermore, the onset and escalation of alcohol use commonly occur during this period. This article uses both animal and human studies to characterize these multilevel developmental changes. The timing of and variations in developmental changes are related to individual differences in alcohol use. It is proposed that this integrated developmental perspective serve as the foundation for subsequent efforts to prevent and to treat the causes, problems, and consequences of alcohol consumption.

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