Alcohol consumption in high school adolescents: frequency of use and dimensional structure of associated problems


Peter M. Lewinsohn, Oregon Research Institute, 1715 Franklin Blvd, Eugene, OR 97403-1983, USA.


The goal of this paper is in present data regarding the occurrence of alcohol consumption and the relative prevalences and the factorial structure of DSM-IV symptoms of alcohol abuse/dependence in a sample of 1507 older (14–18 years) community adolescents. Participants were diagnostically assessed at two time points, approximately 1 year apart. Three-quarters of the sample had tried alcohol. Boys in general had greater usual frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption than girls and began drinking at an earlier age; girls with a diagnosis of alcohol abuse/dependence had a significantly earlier mean age of alcohol disorder onset and were more likely to have a relapse of alcohol disorder. However, gender differences in symptom prevalence were non-significant. Seventeen per cent of the sample had at least one alcohol abuse/dependence symptom. The most frequent symptoms included reduced activities because of alcohol use, consumed more than intended, and tolerance. Eight of the 11 symptoms made a unique contribution to the prediction of diagnosis in a multiple logistic regression analysis. Components analysis supported the general division of symptoms into the categories of abuse and dependence.