Initiation and persistence of alcohol use in United States Black, Hispanic, and White male and female youth.
The relation between early and frequent alcohol use and later difficulties is quite strong. However, the degree that alcohol use persists, which is often a necessary cause for developing alcohol-related problems or an alcohol use disorder, is not well studied, particularly with attention to race and gender. A novel statistical approach, the Multi-facet Longitudinal Model, enables the concurrent study of age of initiation and persistence.The models were applied to longitudinal data on youth alcohol use from ages 12 through 19, collected in the (U.S.) National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort (N=8984).Results confirmed that Black adolescents initiate alcohol use at later ages than do White youth. Further, after initiation, White adolescents were substantially more likely than Black adolescents to continue reporting alcohol use in subsequent years. Hispanic teens showed an intermediate pattern. Gender differences were more ambiguous, with a tendency for boys to be less likely to continue drinking after initiation than were girls.Novel findings from the new analytic models suggest differential implications of early alcohol use by race and gender. Early use of alcohol might be less consequential for males who initiate alcohol use early, Black, and Hispanic youth than for their female and White counterparts.
Malone, PS; Northrup, TF; Masyn, KE; Lamis, DA; Lamont, AE
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