Adolescent drinking patterns

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Although some preliminary questionnaires have been developed concerning adolescent alcohol use, currently there is no effective method for differentiating problem drinking from non-problem drinking. Traditionally, problem drinking has been defined using arbitrary criteria involving the frequency of alcohol use which is not predictive of later alcohol abuse in adulthood. The purpose of this study was to explore the reliability, validity and factor structure of a recently developed questionnaire on adolescent drinking. Through individual item analysis and factor analytic procedures, reliable measures of four aspects of drinking behavior were derived, namely frequency/quantity, social context, reasons for drinking, and consequences of drinking. Data were used from two predominantly white, middle-class high schools in a large metropolitan school system. In order to have a homogeneous sample, only the data from white self reported drinkers (n=284) were analyzed. Because previous studies have identified gender differences in consumption patterns, the sample was split into two separate samples for analyses (136 males and 148 females). Each of the four aspects of drinking behavior were analyzed separately for males and females and different patterns of drinking were identified for each gender. Both frequency and quantity factors were identified for males and females. For the social context portion of the questionnaire, three factors (family drinking, dating drinking, and party drinking) assessed socially appropriate drinking, and two (stranger drinking and school drinking) assessed deviant drinking. For the reasons for drinking portion of the scale, four similar factors were identified for both sexes (Coping with Negative States, Enhancing Positive States, Enhancing Masculinity/Femininity, and Social/Peer Motivated Drinking). Two additional factors were identified for females (Chemical Dependency and Rebellion). In the consequences of drinking aspect, three factors were identified for males and females. The Sociocultural Complications and Symtomatic Drinking factors were similar for both sexes. A Controlled Drinking factor was also identified for males and a Blackout factor for females.

Youth, Alcohol use, Adolescence