Early drinking and its association with adolescents' participation in risky behaviors.

Research paper by Wilma J WJ Calvert, Kathleen K Keenan Bucholz, Karen K Steger-May

Indexed on: 11 Jun '11Published on: 11 Jun '11Published in: Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association


Adolescent alcohol use is a significant public health problem. Drinking before 13 years of age is correlated to the use of illicit drugs and other risky behaviors, such as cigarette smoking.The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between adolescents' early alcohol use and participation in risky behaviors such as smoking marijuana and cigarettes, as well as risky sexual behaviors.Respondents for this cross-sectional secondary analysis came from a sample of 809 racially diverse adolescents in a community-based study examining familial influences on offspring outcomes.Early-onset drinking, compared with nondrinking, was significantly related to participating in many of the risky behaviors. Many of the relationships persisted in the multivariable models that adjusted for demographic characteristics.Early drinking was associated with participation in various risky behaviors (e.g., multiple sexual partners, unprotected intercourse), which may negatively alter an adolescent's future. Screening should focus on the co-occurrence of such behaviors.