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Psychol Addict Behav. 2017 Nov;31(7):775-785. doi: 10.1037/adb0000314. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

Do alcohol use reasons and contexts differentiate adolescent high-intensity drinking? Data from U.S. high school seniors, 2005-2016.

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Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan.


The purpose of this study was to examine associations between (a) self-reported reasons for and contexts of alcohol use and (b) high-intensity drinking (i.e., having 10+ drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks) among national samples of U.S. 12th grade students. Data were obtained from 16,902 students who reported any past 12-month alcohol use from nationally representative annual 12th grade student samples from 2005-2016. When asked about drinking behavior during the past 2 weeks, 72% reported consuming less than 5 drinks at most during 1 drinking occasion; 14% reported 5-9 drinks, 7% reported 10-14 drinks, and 7% reported 15+ drinks. Adolescent drinkers in all categories (<5, 5-9, 10-14, and 15+ drinks) endorsed "to have a good time" as the most prevalent reason for alcohol use, and "at a party" as the most prevalent context of alcohol use. However, high-intensity drinking was particularly likely among adolescents drinking for coping, compulsive use, and drug effect reasons, as well as those who enjoyed the taste. Having 15+ drinks (vs. 10-14 drinks) was particularly associated with compulsive use and enjoying the taste. The relative risk of any high-intensity drinking, and of higher levels of high-intensity drinking involvement, increased with the total number of reasons and contexts endorsed. Alcohol appears to serve a larger number of functions for high-intensity drinking adolescents than non-high-intensity drinking youth. (PsycINFO Database Record.

[Available on 2018-11-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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