Why adolescents engage in early alcohol use: A study of drinking motives
Number of pages
SourceExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 30, 1, (2022), pp. 73-81
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
SW OZ BSI ON
Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
SubjectDevelopmental Psychopathology; Social Development
Shortly after young adolescents initiate alcohol use, we investigated whether (1) drinking motives are associated with current alcohol use and binge drinking, (2) motives predict these alcohol outcomes 6 months later, and (3) alcohol outcomes predict motives 6 months later. Data on adolescents’ drinking motives and alcohol use were drawn from a Dutch longitudinal 7-wave family study at the timepoint of alcohol use initiation (t0, N = 210, 51.4% male, Mage = 14.01 SD = 1.02) and 6 months later (t1, n = 88). Logistic and linear regressions were conducted. Results indicated that young adolescents mainly drink for social and enhancement motives rather than coping and conformity motives. Shortly after alcohol initiation, social motives were associated with alcohol use at t0 (OR = 1.52), enhancement motives with binge drinking at t0 (OR = 2.35), and coping motives with binge drinking at t0 (OR = 2.62) and at t1 (OR = 3.00). Conformity motives were inversely associated with binge drinking at t0 (OR = 0.42). Binge drinking predicted coping motives at t1 (B = 0.71, SE = -0.35), but no other associations among alcohol use, binge drinking, and drinking motives at t1 were found. Conclusively, this study shows that young adolescents drink to enjoy parties and to get drunk (social and enhancement motives) rather than to fit in (conformity motives). The study also indicates that shortly after alcohol initiation, alcohol to cope represents a reciprocal risk factor for binge drinking that may persist in the future, thus pointing to the importance of drinking motives for drinking behaviors among young adolescents.
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