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J Stud Alcohol. 1990 Nov;51(6):556-64.

Drinking styles of adolescents and young adults.

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College of Social Work, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


Drinking among adolescents and young adults has received more attention during the recent past, but little research has focused on the drinking styles that might characterize younger people. A typology of drinking behavior has special relevance for this group, since the adolescent years and young adult years are formative in the development of drinking habits. This study used a model that had been applied to "normal" drinking behaviors of adults. However, the set of drinking variables was expanded to cover a wider range of activities, and a second set of behaviors, intended to reflect potential "problem" drinking, were derived from the National Council on Alcoholism criteria for the diagnosis of alcoholism. The set of 55 "normal" drinking behaviors was factor analyzed, yielding a six-factor structure. The first four factors were quite similar to previous work on adult drinking styles, and the remaining two factors clearly related to the drinking of younger people. The "problem" drinking variables yielded a two-factor structure, one set consisting of serious but uncommon experiences and the second set consisting of less serious and more common experiences. Several of the "normal" drinking factors were significant predictors of the "problem" drinking scores, suggesting that certain styles of drinking are more likely than others to lead to later problems.

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