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Age at first drink moderates the impact of current stressful life events on drinking behavior in young adults

  • Background: Recent evidence from animal experiments and studies in humans suggests that early age at first drink (AFD) may lead to higher stress-induced drinking. The present study aimed to extend these findings by examining whether AFD interacted with stressful life events (SLE) and/or with daily hassles regarding the impact on drinking patterns among young adults. Method: In 306 participants of an epidemiological cohort study, AFD was assessed together with SLE during the past 3 years, daily hassles in the last month, and drinking behavior at age 22. As outcome variables, 2 variables were derived, reflecting different aspects of alcohol use: the amount of alcohol consumed in the last month and the drinking frequency, indicated by the number of drinking days in the last month. Results: Linear regression models revealed an interaction effect between the continuous measures of AFD and SLE on the amount of alcohol consumed. The earlier young adults had their first alcoholic drink and the higher the levels of SLE they were exposedBackground: Recent evidence from animal experiments and studies in humans suggests that early age at first drink (AFD) may lead to higher stress-induced drinking. The present study aimed to extend these findings by examining whether AFD interacted with stressful life events (SLE) and/or with daily hassles regarding the impact on drinking patterns among young adults. Method: In 306 participants of an epidemiological cohort study, AFD was assessed together with SLE during the past 3 years, daily hassles in the last month, and drinking behavior at age 22. As outcome variables, 2 variables were derived, reflecting different aspects of alcohol use: the amount of alcohol consumed in the last month and the drinking frequency, indicated by the number of drinking days in the last month. Results: Linear regression models revealed an interaction effect between the continuous measures of AFD and SLE on the amount of alcohol consumed. The earlier young adults had their first alcoholic drink and the higher the levels of SLE they were exposed to, the disproportionately more alcohol they consumed. Drinking frequency was not affected by an interaction of these variables, while daily hassles and their interaction with AFD were unrelated to drinking behavior. Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of early age at drinking onset as a risk factor for later heavy drinking under high load of SLE. Prevention programs should aim to raise age at first contact with alcohol. Additionally, support in stressful life situations and the acquisition of effective coping strategies might prevent heavy drinking in those with earlier drinking onset.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Dorothea Blomeyer, Arlette F. Buchmann, Brigitte Schmid, Christine Jennen-Steinmetz, Martin H. Schmidt, Tobias Banaschewski, Manfred Laucht
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01447.x
ISSN:0145-6008 (print)
Parent Title (English):Alcoholism : clinical and experimental research ; the official journal of the American Medical Society on Alcoholism and the Research Society on Alcoholism
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication:Malden
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2011
Year of Completion:2011
Release Date:2017/03/26
Tag:Age at First Drink; Daily Hassles; Drinking Behavior; Longitudinal Study; Stressful Life Events
Volume:35
Issue:6
Pagenumber:7
First Page:1142
Last Page:1148
Funder:German Research Foundation (DFG)
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Psychologie
Peer Review:Referiert