The authors describe their research study, using group-based trajectory modeling to identify patterns of involvement in heavy episodic drinking in youth, from age 14 to 17 years, noting that results highlight the importance of adolescent alcohol use in predicting future alcohol use in adulthood.
Heavy episodic drinking (HED) is a major public health concern, and youth who engage in HED are at increased risk for alcohol-related problems that continue into adulthood. Importantly, there is heterogeneity in the onset and course of adolescent HED, as youth exhibit different trajectories of initiation and progression into heavy drinking. Much of what is known about the etiology of adolescent HED and alcohol-related problems that persist into adulthood comes from studies of predominantly White, middle-class youth. Because alcohol use and related problems vary by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status, it is unclear whether previous findings are relevant for understanding developmental antecedents and distal consequences of adolescent HED for minoritized individuals. In the current study, we utilize a developmental psychopathology perspective to fill this gap in the literature. Using a racially and economically diverse cohort followed from adolescence well into adulthood, we apply group-based trajectory modeling (GBTM) to identify patterns of involvement in HED from age 14 to 17 years. We then investigate developmental antecedents of GBTM class membership, and alcohol-related distal outcomes in adulthood (similar to age 31 years) associated with GBTM class membership. Results highlight the importance of adolescent alcohol use in predicting future alcohol use in adulthood. (Published Abstract Provided)