How do youth with bad peer experiences start using alcohol?
Understanding how adolescents begin to use alcohol and what factors influence that process is key to preventing it and its associated harms. Researchers at the University of Buffalo studied peer influences on this developmental pathway in a new paper. They followed a sample of adolescents over time, tracking their peer relationships and alcohol use, either through internalizing mechanisms like coping or externalizing mechanisms like changing social groups. They found that both peer victimization and exclusion were related to alcohol use through internalized pathways, although some models only supported that pathway for excluded youth. Their findings suggest that more attention should be paid to adolescents who are excluded by their peers. The full report, “A longitudinal examination of mediational pathways linking chronic victimization and exclusion to adolescent alcohol use,” was published in Developmental Psychology. The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.