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The crown of love: intimate relations and alcohol use in adolescence

[journal article]

Zwaluw, Carmen S. van der; Scholte, Ron H. J.; Vermulst, Ad A.; Buitelaar, Jan; Verkes, Robbert Jan; Engels, Rutger C. M. E.

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Abstract Background: Remarkably, little attention has been paid to the role of intimate partners and their drinking behavior in relation to adolescent alcohol use. In the current study, we examined associations between adolescent alcohol use and romantic partners’ drinking behavior. Methods: A total of 428 families, consisting of both parents and two adolescents (aged 13.4 and 15.2 at Time 1) participated in a prospective study with four annual waves. Correlations and multivariate regressions were used to examine (1) similarity in drinking behaviors of adolescents and intimate partners, (2) whether alcohol use of partners prospectively predicts adolescent alcohol consumption, and (3) whether adolescents who consume alcohol select partners over time who show similar drinking behaviors. Results: (1) Frequency of alcohol consumption of adolescents and of their romantic partners correlated significantly. (2) Alcohol use of partners was not predictive of adolescent alcohol consumption over time, if previous levels of alcohol consumption were taken into account. (3) Adolescents acquired partners with similar drinking behaviors. Gender effects were found; adolescent girls, but not boys, were more likely to become involved with partners who also frequently consumed alcohol. Conclusions: Regarding alcohol consumption, adolescents and their intimate partners were relatively similar in alcohol use. This resemblance is best explained by adolescents’ selection of future partner on the basis of alcohol consumption. Less indication was found for influence effects, perhaps due to the transient nature of most adolescent romantic relationships.
Classification Family Sociology, Sociology of Sexual Behavior; Sociology of the Youth, Sociology of Childhood; Social Problems
Free Keywords adolescent; alcohol; romantic relationship; partner
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 407-417
Journal European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 18 (2009) 7
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-009-0748-6
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)