Research & Resources

Young ABCD Study Participants’ Caffeine Use Is Linked to Alcohol Sipping

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study® is an open-science, multi-site, prospective, longitudinal study following over 11,800 youth ages 9–10 into early adulthood. The ABCD Study aims to prospectively examine the impact of substance use (SU) on neurocognitive and health outcomes. Although SU initiation typically occurs during teen years, relatively little is known about patterns of SU in children younger than 12. In this study, researchers ran mixed-effects regression models to examine the association between early caffeine and alcohol sipping with demographic factors, externalizing symptoms, and parental history of alcohol and substance use disorder (AUD/SUD). At baseline, most of the youth (67.6 percent) had used caffeine, and 22.5 percent reported sipping alcohol. There was little to no reported use of other drug categories (0.2 percent reported consuming a full alcohol drink, 0.7 percent reported using nicotine, and fewer than 0.1 percent reported using any other drug of abuse). Analyses revealed that total caffeine use and early alcohol sipping were associated with demographic variables, externalizing symptoms, and parental history of AUD. In summary, ABCD Study participants ages 9–10 reported caffeine use and alcohol sipping experimentation, but very rarely reported other SU. The researchers recommended that variables linked to early childhood alcohol sipping and caffeine use be examined as contributing factors in future longitudinal analyses examining escalating trajectories of SU in the ABCD Study cohort.

This paper, “Substance use patterns in 9-10 year olds: Baseline findings from the adolescent brain cognitive development (ABCD) study,” was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published in the journal Drug and alcohol dependence.

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