Environmental and temperamental correlates of alcohol user patterns in grade 7 students

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AIMS – We examined the effects of temperamental dispositions, friends using alcohol and parental monitoring on grade 7 students’ alcohol use patterns.

DESIGN – The analyses were drawn from a cross-sectional survey of 3710 grade 7 students (mean age =12.53) that participated in a large Norwegian school-based intervention study. Alcohol user patterns were measured through combining self-reported lifetime alcohol experience, heavy episodic drinking and any alcohol involvement in the previous 30 days. Behavioural inhibition/activation sensitivity (BIS/BAS), parental monitoring and the number of friends using alcohol were measured through the adolescents’ self-report.

RESULTS – As many as 68.8% of boys and 83.3% of girls were non-users of alcohol, whereas 9.1% of boys and 3.9% of girls reported use of alcohol last month. Heavy episodic drinking last month was reported by 3.1% of the boys and by 0.8 % of the girls. A multinomial regression analysis revealed strong associations between the number of friends using alcohol and alcohol user patterns, moderate inverse associations between parental monitoring and alcohol user patterns, and a weak association between BIS/BAS components and alcohol user patterns.

CONCLUSION – The results demonstrate the importance of socio-environmental factors in a period in which alcohol use is predictive of later negative outcomes.

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