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1.  Patterns of Alcohol Use in Early Adolescence Predict Problem Use at Age 16 
Aims: Teenagers in the UK report some of the highest rates of alcohol use in Europe. We identify patterns of alcohol use in early adolescence and relate these to hazardous and harmful alcohol use at age 16. Methods: In a UK birth cohort, we analysed repeated measures of alcohol use from age 13 to 15 in a sample of 7100 adolescents. Data on drinking frequency and typical consumption when drinking were modelled separately using a pair of latent class models. Classes of alcohol-use behaviour were contrasted across a range of risk factors and then to hazardous and harmful alcohol use as assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scale at age 16. Results: Heterogeneity in drinking frequency and consumption could each be captured with three classes corresponding to low, medium and high levels. In total, 14.2% were classified as high-frequency and 8.9% as high consumption alcohol users. Socio-demographic factors, maternal substance use and the young persons' use of tobacco and cannabis were associated with class membership. At age 16, 29% were drinking hazardously and a further 5.6% were assessed as harmful drinkers. Young people in the high drinking frequency or consumption class had a 9-fold increased risk of reporting harmful drinking at age 16. Conclusions: By the age of 16, a substantial proportion of teenagers in this sample were drinking at levels that could be considered hazardous or harmful for an adult. Patterns of alcohol exposure in early adolescence were strongly associated with later alcohol use. Altering drinking patterns in middle adolescence has the potential to reduce harmful use in later adolescence.
PMCID: PMC3284685  PMID: 22215001
2.  The Self-Rating of the Effects of Alcohol Questionnaire as a Predictor of Alcohol-Related Outcomes in 12-Year-Old Subjects 
Aims: A low level of response (LR), or low sensitivity, to alcohol as established by alcohol challenges has been shown to predict future heavier drinking, alcohol-related problems and alcohol use disorders. To date, only one study has evaluated the predictive validity of a second measure of LR as determined by the Self-Report of the Effects of Alcohol (SRE) Questionnaire. The current analyses evaluate the ability of SRE scores as determined at age 12 to predict heavier drinking and alcohol-related problems 2 years later in a sample from the United Kingdom. Methods: The subjects were 156 boys (54.5%) and girls from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) who had reported consuming one or more standard drinks by age 12 and who were followed up 2 years later. Results: The age 12 SRE scores correlated with the number of drinks per week, maximum drinks and the number of alcohol problems both at baseline and at age 14 follow-ups. In these evaluations, a larger number of drinks required for effects on the SRE (i.e. a lower LR per drink consumed) related to heavier intake and alcohol-related difficulties. Simultaneous entry multiple regression analyses revealed that the age 12 SRE score maintained a significant relationship with age 14 higher number of drinks per week and the number of alcohol problems even when the age 12 values for alcohol intake and problems were used as covariates. Conclusion: The SRE scores appear to have value in predicting future heavier drinking and alcohol problems in 12-year olds that go beyond the information offered by the earlier drinking pattern alone.
PMCID: PMC2720769  PMID: 18845530

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