Very young adolescents and alcohol: Evidence of a unique susceptibility to peer alcohol use
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Aim: The aim of this study is to examine the susceptibility of very young adolescents (10-12 years of age) to 26 peer alcohol-related influences, compared to older adolescents (13-14 years of age). 27 Methods: The analysis sample consisted of 7064 adolescents in grade 6 (modal age 11) or grade 8 (modal 28 age 13) from 231 schools in 30 communities across three Australian States. Key measures were adolescent 29 reports of alcohol use (past 30 days) and the number of peers who consume alcohol without their parent's 30 awareness. Control variables included parent alcohol use, family relationship quality, pubertal advancement, 31 school connectedness, sensation seeking, depression, length of time in high school, as well as age, gender, 32 father/mother education, and language spoken at home. A multi-level model of alcohol use was used to ac- 33 count for school-level clustering on the dependent variable. 34 Results: For both groups, the number of peers who consumed alcohol was associated with alcohol use, but 35 Grade 6 students showed a unique susceptibility to peripheral involvement with peer drinking networks 36 (having one friend who consumed alcohol). 37 Conclusion: The results point to the importance of monitoring and responding to comparatively minor shifts 38 in the proportion of peers who use alcohol, particularly among very young adolescents.
© 2011 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Community Child Health