Earlier age of first drink (AFD) of alcohol is associated with higher rates of alcohol abuse and dependence as well as a range of other externalizing problems. This study tested the hypotheses that in young adults earlier AFD is associated with  the common variance among externalizing problems (lifetime alcohol, marijuana, other drug, childhood conduct, and adult antisocial behavior problems) rather than being uniquely associated with alcohol problems, and  the disinhibited personality traits of social deviance and impulsivity, and that the association between earlier AFD and externalizing problems is partly accounted for by disinhibited personality. The sample (N=502) included 299 young adults with a history of alcohol dependence (AD) and 203 subjects with no history of AD. Analyses showed that  earlier AFD was associated with the covariance among the different domains of externalizing problems and was not unique to any one externalizing problem,  earlier AFD was associated with social deviance and impulsivity, and  social deviance and impulsivity accounted for part of the association between earlier AFD and externalizing problems. The results suggest that earlier AFD is associated with a vulnerability to disinhibitory disorders and is not specifically associated with alcohol problems.
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