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Alcohol use in young adulthood: Do self-control and parents’ perceptions of friends during adolescence modify peer influence?

A study assessed the influence of peer alcohol use during adolescence on young adults’ alcohol use and abuse, and investigated to what extent parents’ perception of their adolescent child’s friends and adolescent’s self-control modified this influence.
Researcher analysed data from the first, third, and fourth wave of a population-based prospective cohort study of 2230 adolescents conducted between 2001 and 2010 (mean ages: 11.1, 16.3, and 19.1, respectively). Alcohol use and abuse were measured at T4 by self-report questionnaires and by the Composite International Diagnostics Interview (CIDI), respectively. Peer alcohol use, self-control, and parents’ perception of their adolescent child’s friends were measured at T3.
Findings suggest that peer alcohol use during adolescence was related to young adults’ alcohol use and abuse [odds ratio 1.31 (1.11-1.54) and 1.50 (1.20-1.87), respectively]. Neither parents’ perception of their adolescent child’s friends, nor self-control modified this relationship. Alcohol abusers were more likely to have low self-control than alcohol users. No differences were found between alcohol users and abusers regarding their parents’ perception of their friends and peer alcohol use.
The authors conclude that peer alcohol use during adolescence affects young adults’ alcohol use and abuse. Self-control was only related to alcohol abuse. Peer influence was not modified by parents’ perception of peers or by self-control. They therefore recommend that peer alcohol use and self-control should thus be separate targets in the prevention of alcohol use/abuse.
Source: Alcohol use and abuse in young adulthood: Do self-control and parents’ perceptions of friends during
adolescence modify peer influence? The TRAILS Study. Leenke Visser. Andrea F. de Winter, René Veenstra, Frank C. Verhulst, Sijmen A. Reijneveld.

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