Age at drinking onset and alcohol dependence - Age at onset, duration, and severity

Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.25). 08/2006; 160(7):739-46. DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.160.7.739
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To examine whether starting to drink at an early age is associated with developing alcohol dependence at a younger age and chronic relapsing dependence, controlling for respondent demographics, smoking and illicit drug use, childhood antisocial behavior and depression, and family alcoholism history.
Cross-sectional survey.
Nationwide face-to-face survey with a multistage probability sample.
A total of 43,093 adults were surveyed in 2001-2002.
Based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, criteria, lifetime alcohol dependence, dependence within 10 years of starting drinking, multiple episodes, an alcohol dependence episode in the past year, episodes exceeding 1 year, and meeting 6 or 7 dependence criteria.
Relative to respondents who began drinking at 21 years or older, those who began drinking before age 14 years were more likely to experience alcohol dependence ever and within 10 years of first drinking (adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals [CIs], 1.78 [1.51-2.11] and 1.69 [1.38-2.07], respectively). They also more often experienced past-year dependence and multiple dependence episodes (adjusted odds ratios, 1.93 [95% CI, 1.40-2.64] and 3.09 [95% CI, 2.19-4.35], respectively). Among alcohol-dependent persons, the odds were 2.62 (95% CI, 1.79-3.84) for having at least 1 episode exceeding 1 year and 2.89 (95% CI, 1.97-4.23) for meeting 6 or 7 dependence diagnostic criteria.
There is a need to screen and counsel adolescents about alcohol use and to implement policies and programs that delay alcohol consumption.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A systematic review was conducted on the role of substance use initiation in subsequent use and substance-related problems among adolescents. Specifically, we examine previous studies to identify whether age of onset predicts subsequent levels of misuse; we also posit reasons for this association that have been suggested within the literature. In addition, the manuscript reviews literature suggesting that early onset of substance use may serve as an outcome of more distal predictors (mediators) for substance use, as well as shows findings that early onset may be predicted by other underlying factors. We also examine additional aspects of the relationship, including the context and characteristics of the adolescents' first substance-using experience. Finally, we review currently available prevention programs with specific focus on prevention of early substance use initiation and subsequent use.
    Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse 01/2014; 23(2):78-86. DOI:10.1080/1067828X.2012.748595 · 0.62 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Drug and alcohol use disorders account for a high and potentially preventable proportion of overall disability and mortality. This article reviews published data on the distribution of alcohol and drug abuse and dependence in the USA. Published data shows that alcohol use disorders are more prevalent than illegal drug use disorders, although the persistence of both disorders was similar over a three-year follow-up period. Significant variability exists within sex, racial/ethnic, and age groups. Men, Native Americans, and young adults, aged 18 to 25, are at a higher risk of substance dependence. Environmental correlates of disorder include early environmental factors, political environment, and social contextual factors. Systematically identifying, and measuring variability across demographic populations, will guide prevention and intervention efforts. Future research will expand understanding of the complex interplay between individual and environmental factors that serve to initiate and sustain alcohol and drug use disorders.
    03/2015; 2(1). DOI:10.1007/s40473-015-0030-9

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 23, 2014