The present study examined the national prevalence and distribution of adolescent use of caffeinated energy drinks, assessing variations in sociodemographic characteristics, personality traits, lifestyles, and patterns of alcohol and caffeine use. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in May 2014, using a nationally representative sample of 1,032 U.S. early (aged 13-15; n = 602) and middle adolescents (aged 16-17; n = 430). Nearly two thirds of teens reported ever using energy drinks; 41% had done so recently, that is, in the past 3 months. Middle adolescents reported higher prevalences of both lifetime and recent use of energy drinks than early adolescents. Common situational contexts for use (e.g., compensating for lack of sleep or playing sports) differed by both gender and age cohort. In hierarchical logistic regression analyses, gender and geographic region significantly predicted both lifetime and recent use for early adolescents only, whereas age and race were significant predictors only for middle adolescents. For both age cohorts, odds of both lifetime and recent use increased with sensation-seeking score, lifetime alcohol use, and recent caffeinated soft drink use. Among early adolescents, grade point average predicted lifetime use only, whereas coffee and caffeine pill use predicted recent use only. Among middle adolescents, impulsivity and past sports participation predicted lifetime but not recent use. Our findings show that adolescent energy drink use is widespread and varies as a function of demographic, psychosocial, lifestyle, and substance use characteristics. Future research is needed to assess whether differences between early and middle adolescent use patterns are primarily developmental or cohort effects. (PsycINFO Database Record
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