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Binge Drinking Trajectories of Students During Their Transitions to Adulthood

Impulsivity and sensation seeking traits are two important qualities to examine in order to understand who is at risk for binge drinking across college and into the transition to adulthood. Researchers conducted a longitudinal study, collecting data from more than 2,000 students from the end of high school through the students’ first two years out of college. The study reported these students’ binge drinking trajectories and found that “late bloomers” (students who began binge drinking in the later years of college) were a risk-group group for drinking associated with abnormal patterns of personality maturation during the transition to adulthood. The study, “Trajectories of Binge Drinking and Personality Change Across Emergency Adulthood” is published in the September 2015 issue of the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism supported this research effort.

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Depressive Symptoms Among Students at Entry to College and Related Alcohol Consequences

Over 600 first-year college students from three universities were surveyed to explore the effect of depressed mood at the start of college on students’ drinking outcomes and coping motives throughout the first year of college. Study results identified key differences between men and women. In men, the effect of depressive mood on alcohol consequences was independent of pre-college and college factors. In women, pre-college drinking to cope linked depressive symptoms to alcohol consequences in college. The study, “Gender Differences in the Effect of Depressive Symptoms on Prospective Alcohol Outcomes in the First Year of College” is published in the October 2015 issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The National Institutes of Health supported this research effort.

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Hispanic Female Students Were More Likely Than Their Male Counterparts to Use Alcohol and Binge Drink

Nearly 9,000 Hispanic students in grades 6 through 12 participated in a survey about alcohol and other drug use. The study found that female students were more likely than male students to use alcohol, binge drink, and develop risk for substance abuse. The study, “Gender Differences in Risk and Protective Factors for Alcohol Use and Substance Use Problems Among Hispanic Adolescents”, is published in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration supported this research effort.

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Alcohol Use Among Medically Vulnerable Youth

An assessment of approximately 400 youth ages 9-18 with chronic medical conditions found that more than a third of high school students reported past-year alcohol use.  More than half of those students revealed that alcohol can interfere with their medications and laboratory tests. The study, “Alcohol and Marijuana Use and Treatment Nonadherence Among Medically Vulnerable Youth”, is published in the August 2015 issue of Pediatrics. The National Institutes of Health supported this research effort.

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Gender Differences in Alcohol Use and Development of High Risk Youth

Eight hundred and fifty high-risk youth with low GPAs in an economically disadvantaged Midwest school district were recruited to participate in a study exploring gender differences in the students’ development related to substance use. Researchers followed students from ninth grade through young adulthood. The study found that males’ heavy drinking, nicotine use, and marijuana use grew persistently from adolescence through young adulthood while females gradually increased their nicotine use while maintaining low levels of heavy drinking and marijuana use.  The study also found that the effect of nicotine use quantity on heavy drinking was greater among males than females.

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