The purpose of the current study was to assess whether individuals differ in their experiences of emerging adulthood (EA) and associations with distinct patterns of alcohol use. To differentiate between EA drinking patterns, 153 regular community drinkers (ages 18–24 years; M = 20.9, SD = 1.9; 66.0% women; 53.6% Caucasian; 68.0% students) completed the Inventory of Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA) and measures of alcohol use, drinking motives, and drinking consequences. Latent profile analysis revealed two profiles: EA-consistent (90%) had elevated scores on the five typical IDEA subscales; non-exploring EA (10%) had low scores on four dimensions. Non-exploring EA consistently demonstrated significantly lower scores on all alcohol variables at baseline and higher drinking volume, consequences, and social motives 1 year later. Findings indicate distinct profiles of EA development are associated with different patterns of alcohol use; how individuals experience this time of life may influence involvement in high-risk drinking during EA.
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A standard drink was defined as one bottle of beer (12 oz, 5%), one glass of wine (5 oz, 10–12%), or one shot of hard liquor (1.5 oz, 43–50%; Collins et al. 2008).
The following were coded as binary variables in the latent profile analysis due to the smaller size of one of the classes: ethnicity, romantic relationship (casually dating, in an exclusive relationship, married/common-law), living in parents’ home, employment status, in school.
See Supplemental Materials for graphs comparing latent profiles on drinking variables.
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This research was supported by a grant from the Foundation for Alcohol Research (ABMRF) awarded to Abby L. Goldstein, Sherry Stewart, and Sean Mackinnon and an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation to Dr. Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein is supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in the Psychology of Emerging Adulthood and Dr. Stewart is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Addictions and Mental Health. Joyce Zhu was supported by a Master’s Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
The study was reviewed and the protocol approved by Research Ethics Board at the University of Toronto.
All participants provided informed consent and participation was voluntary.
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Zhu, J.Y., Goldstein, A.L., Mackinnon, S.P. et al. Alcohol Use and Emerging Adult Development: a Latent Profile Analysis of Community Drinkers. Int J Ment Health Addiction 17, 1180–1199 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-018-0039-x