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. 2017 Oct;56(10):857-865.
doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2017.07.781. Epub 2017 Aug 3.

Effects of Excessive Alcohol Use on Antisocial Behavior Across Adolescence and Early Adulthood

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Free PMC article

Effects of Excessive Alcohol Use on Antisocial Behavior Across Adolescence and Early Adulthood

Gemma Hammerton et al. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Objective: Antisocial behavior (ASB) decreases with age in most of the population; however, excessive alcohol use can inhibit the desistance process. This study investigated whether excessive early drinking might slow a young person's overall pattern of crime desistance compared with that of others ("between-person effects") and whether short-term increases in alcohol consumption might result in short-term increases in ASB ("within-person effects").

Method: Frequency of ASB and typical alcohol consumption were assessed repeatedly in young people 15 to 21 years old in a population-based birth cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children). Longitudinal trajectories showed ASB decreasing and alcohol use increasing across adolescence, which stabilized in adulthood. The parallel growth model was re-parameterized to simultaneously estimate the person-specific (or "between-person") and time-specific (or "within-person") influences of alcohol on ASB.

Results: Typical alcohol consumption by young people 15 years old was positively associated with ASB cross-sectionally and into young adulthood (i.e., there were between-person effects of initial levels of alcohol consumption on initial [b 1.64, standard error 0.21; p < .001] and final [b 0.53, standard error 0.14; p < .001] levels of ASB). Within-person effects also were identified in early adulthood (b 0.06, standard error 0.02; p = .001), showing that when a young person reported consuming more alcohol than normal across the past year, that person also reported engaging in higher than usual levels of ASB.

Conclusion: The results are consistent with between- and within-person effects of excessive alcohol use on ASB desistence. Future research should further investigate this relation by investigating pathways into excessive alcohol use and ASB in adolescence.

Keywords: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children; alcohol consumption; antisocial behavior; between-person effect; within-person effect.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Example of exponential decay trajectories showing impact of changes in growth factors. Note: Panel A shows the impact of changing the intercept with the half-life and asymptote held constant. Panel B shows the impact of changing the half-life with the intercept and asymptote held constant. Panel C shows the impact of changing the asymptote with the intercept and half-life held constant.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Parallel exponential growth model for antisocial behavior (ASB) and typical alcohol consumption (ALC) showing between-person effects of alcohol intercept on ASB growth factors and within-person effects of repeated typical alcohol consumption on repeated ASB. Note: a = paths testing between-person effects; Asymp = asymptote; b = paths testing within-person effects; Int = intercept.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Observed and estimated means for units of typical alcohol consumption (exponential growth model) and frequency of antisocial behavior (ASB; exponential decay model; N = 6,112). Note: Circles = clinic assessments; diamonds = questionnaire assessments.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Between-person effects of typical alcohol consumption latent intercept on antisocial behavior (ASB) growth factors, showing unstandardized coefficient (standard error; N = 6,112). Note: Model A shows direct effects of alcohol intercept on ASB growth factors with residual covariances between ASB growth factors. Model B shows direct effects of alcohol intercept on ASB growth factors after taking account of the direct effect of ASB intercept on ASB half-life and asymptote. Asymp = asymptote; Int = Intercept.

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