Adolescent risk factors for excessive alcohol use at age 32 years. A 16-year prospective follow-up study

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2010 Jan;45(1):125-34. doi: 10.1007/s00127-009-0048-y. Epub 2009 Apr 11.


Aims: To examine which socioeconomic, family, personal and lifestyle risk factors in adolescence were the strongest independent predictors of excessive alcohol use in adulthood.

Methods: In a prospective longitudinal study, all 16-year-olds of one Finnish city completed questionnaires at school, and were followed up by postal questionnaires at 32 years of age [n = 1,471, (females n = 805, males n = 666); response rate 70.3%). The alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) was used to assess alcohol use in adulthood. AUDIT scores of 8 or more for females and 10 or more for males were classified as excessive alcohol use. Adolescent risk factors examined were parental social class, school performance, depressive symptoms, self-esteem, impulsiveness, parental divorce, relationships with parents, parental trust, health behaviour, leisure-time spent with friends, dating, and problems with the law.

Results: All the socioeconomic, family, personal, and lifestyle variables in adolescence, except parental social class in both genders and self-esteem among females, showed significant univariate associations with excessive alcohol use at age 32 years. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that among adolescent males, parental divorce, moderate and high level of depressive symptoms, leisure-time spent daily among friends and moderate and drunkenness-orientated drinking were the strongest predictors of excessive alcohol use in adulthood. Among females, the strongest adolescent predictors of excessive alcohol use in adulthood were drunkenness-orientated drinking and frequent smoking.

Conclusions: Early interventions for adolescent substance use and a set of specific psychosocial risk factors should be tailored and evaluated as methods for identifying those at high risk of and preventing excessive alcohol use in adulthood.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires