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Social stress and alcohol initiation in adolescent girls

Social stress may be an important factor that influences adolescent alcohol use; however, most studies looking at social stress and alcohol have been limited by reliance on self-report. This current study used a controlled research environment and time series analysis rather than self-reporting to examine the relationship between social stress and alcohol use in a group of female adolescents. Researchers gave participants an anxiety-inducing task, measured stress levels, and then tracked their alcohol use over time. They found that the girls who were more anxious before the task began started drinking younger than those who were calmer, providing strong evidence for the relationship.

The paper, “Real-time social stress response and subsequent alcohol use initiation among female adolescents,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse and appeared in the journal, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Research & Resources