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Addiction. 2011 Jun;106(6):1104-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03411.x. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

The role of person-environment interactions in increased alcohol use in the transition to college.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, Austin, TX 78712, USA. pdquinn@mail.utexas.edu

Abstract

AIMS:

Even among those at risk for problematic alcohol use, there is variability in developmental trajectories of drinking and related problems. This prospective study examined the role of person-environment interactions in increased drinking during the transition to college.

DESIGN:

The authors followed a sample of recent high school graduates to test whether protective environmental factors could delay increases in drinking among those high in trait-level risk factors.

SETTING:

Participants completed web-based surveys.

PARTICIPANTS:

A sample of 1784 students in the incoming class of 2004 at a large public United States university completed high school and first-semester-of-college assessments.

MEASUREMENTS:

Participants completed self-report measures of alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, perceived awareness and caring from parents and other adults, sensation seeking and impulsivity.

FINDINGS:

In the transition to college, high sensation seekers from more protective high school parental environments increased their alcohol use and problems more than did other students. Increases in alcohol problems were also high among more impulsive students from less protective environments. Whereas high sensation seekers drank equivalently in college regardless of high school-perceived awareness and caring, those who had greater high school-perceived awareness and caring did not experience as many alcohol-related problems in college.

CONCLUSIONS:

Differences in drinking trajectories may be a function of person-environment interactions. Risk associated with high sensation seeking may be masked among adolescents in protective environments, but its emergence in the college transition predicts increases in alcohol use and related problems.

PMID:
21338432
PMCID:
PMC3094472
DOI:
10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03411.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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