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Alcohol in emerging adulthood: 7-year study of problem and dependent drinkers

OBJECTIVE: This study examined the level, changes and predictors of alcohol consumption and binge drinking over a 7-year period among young adults (18-25 years) who met the criteria for problem drinking. METHOD: Interviews with 270 18 to 25 years old problem and dependent drinkers from representative public and private substance use treatment programs and the general population were conducted after 1, 3, 5, and 7 years. Measures included demographic characteristics, severity measures, and both formal and informal influences on drinking. RESULTS: Overall alcohol consumption declined over time but leveled off around 24 years of age. Being male, not attending AA over time, as well as more baseline dependence symptoms and greater ASI alcohol and legal severity were associated with greater consumption and binge drinking. In addition, greater levels of binge drinking were associated with less education, earlier age of first use, and a larger social network of heavy drinkers. In conclusion, more attention should be paid to heavy drinking among young adults and to the factors that influence their drinking patterns.

Authors: Delucchi KL; Matzger H; Weisner C

Addict Behav. 2008 Jan;33(1):134-42. Epub 2007 May 3.

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