Background: The present study examines whether general and alcohol-specific peer risk factors from age 10 to 18 are associated with longitudinal patterns of adult alcohol abuse disorder symptoms from age 21 to 33.
Methods: Using growth mixture modeling, trajectory groups of alcohol abuse disorder symptoms from age 21 to 33 were identified. We then examined the relationships between the identified trajectory groups of alcohol abuse disorder symptoms and respondents' own adolescent binge drinking, a general negative peer factor, and an alcohol-specific peer factor (having drinking peers) in adolescence using pseudo-class Wald Chi-square tests, and multinomial logistic regressions.
Results: Four different trajectory groups of alcohol abuse disorder symptoms were identified: persistor group (3%), decreaser group (23%), escalator group (3%), and a no-disorder group (71%). Bivariate Wald Chi-square tests indicated that adolescent binge drinking behavior and general and alcohol-specific peer factors differentiated the adult alcohol abuse trajectory groups. Multivariate multinomial logistic regression showed that the general negative peer factors distinguished those who later persisted in alcohol abuse from those who desisted (i.e., persistor group vs. decreaser group) during young adulthood, even after adjusting for respondents' adolescent binge drinking. On the other hand, associating with drinking peers did not distinguish these trajectories.
Conclusion: Alcohol-specific peer influences appear to influence alcohol abuse disorder symptoms in the early 20s, while general negative peer exposure in adolescence increases in importance as a risk factor for alcohol abuse disorder symptom persistence in the late 20s and the early 30s.
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