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J Stud Alcohol. 1991 Sep;52(5):398-408.

Antecedents of drinking among young adolescents with different alcohol use histories.

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RAND, Santa Monica, California 90407-2138.


Testing separate path analytic models for 7th-grade users and nonusers, we assess the impact of cognitive, social influence and behavioral antecedents on adolescent drinking 3 and 12 months later. For the group that had not tried alcohol by grade 7, we found that social influence factors--exposure to peers who drink or use marijuana and to adults who drink--foster more frequent alcohol use and binge drinking in the near future (3 months later). The key peer influences on binge drinking were marijuana-specific. After 12 months, the child's own drinking experience during grade 7 and peer and parental attitudes toward drugs emerge as important explanatory variables. For children who had already started drinking by grade 7, cognitive--as well as social and behavioral factors--affect near- and longer-term alcohol involvement. While the child's prior drinking habits have the strongest impact, baseline expectations of using alcohol also predict frequency of alcohol use and binge drinking after 3 and 12 months. Believing that alcohol use is harmful helps hold down increases in frequency of use (but not excessive use) as long as 12 months later. Engaging in deviant behavior or doing poorly in school did not predict future drinking among baseline nonusers, but did foretell which of the 7th-grade initiates were most likely to engage in binge drinking during grade 8. The study's implications for prevention are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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