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Addiction. 2015 Feb;110(2):269-78. doi: 10.1111/add.12747. Epub 2014 Oct 27.

Tests of the effects of adolescent early alcohol exposures on adult outcomes.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Abstract

AIMS:

To determine whether early adolescent alcohol use contributes to adult alcohol use, misuse and other adult substance-related and social outcomes.

DESIGN:

In a longitudinal study of twins assessed at target ages 11, 14 and 24 years, two techniques adjusted for confounding factors: a propensity score (PS) adjusting for the effects of measured background covariates and co-twin control (CTC) adjusting for confounding by unmeasured (including genetic) factors shared within early alcohol exposure-discordant pairs.

SETTING:

The community-based Minnesota Twin Family Study.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 1512 (50.3% female) twins.

MEASUREMENTS:

Early adolescent alcohol exposures, adult substance-related and social outcomes and background variables reflecting behavioral, familial and environmental characteristics.

FINDINGS:

Background covariates unbalanced between those with and without early alcohol exposure were balanced through PS-based weighting, leaving several adult outcomes related to substance use or social functioning remaining significantly associated with early alcohol exposure. Similarly, the within-pair individual-level component of a CTC indicated that early alcohol-exposed twins had higher risk than their non-exposed co-twins for several, but not all, of the same adult outcomes. For example, early alcohol use was associated with an adult index of alcohol use in both PS-weighted (β = 0.57, P < 0.001) and CTC (β = 0.21, P = 0.031) analyses.

CONCLUSIONS:

Early alcohol exposures predict adult alcohol problems and related outcomes, despite stringent adjustment for measured and non-measured sources of potential confounding using propensity score and co-twin control. Contrasting the methods indicated that exposure effect estimates from PS application were likely biased by unmeasured confounding factors.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; alcohol; causality; co-twin control; longitudinal; propensity score; twins

PMID:
25251778
PMCID:
PMC4459504
DOI:
10.1111/add.12747
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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