Research & Resources

Disentangling the Physical, Social, and Situational Contexts of Young Adolescents’ Initiation to Alcohol Use and Intoxication: A Mixed Methods Study

Researchers in this study examined the physical, social, and situational characteristics of three types of initiation—first whole drink, first heavy episodic drinking (HED), and first intoxication—and considered variations between early- and later-initiating adolescents. Researchers analyzed survey responses from 471 participants. A subsample of 50 participants recruited at baseline took part in thematically coded in-depth interviews. After controlling for demographics, researchers found that first HED and first intoxication—compared to first whole drink—were more likely to occur when more close friends were present and when those close friends were also drinking. The likelihood of early initiation of a whole drink and intoxication was also positively associated with being in an outdoor setting. Researchers found that the results highlight the importance of considering contextual characteristics by initiation type for prevention efforts.

This paper, “Disentangling the physical, social, and situational contexts of young adolescents’ initiation to alcohol use and intoxication: A mixed methods study,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the journal Drug and alcohol dependence.

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