Trajectory classes of heavy episodic drinking among Asian American college students


Derek K. Iwamoto, Yale University, Department of Psychology, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA. E-mail:


Aims  Heavy episodic drinking (HED) among Asian Americans is a growing concern. However, little is known about the etiology and developmental patterns of HED among Asian Americans, even though this group is one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States.

Design  Three year longitudinal design.

Participants  Sample included 404 Asian American college students transitioning from high school, through the college years.

Measurement  Measures included heavy episodic drinking, parental and peer relationships, alcohol expectancies, drinking values, and alcohol-related problems.

Findings  Results from growth-mixture models (GMM) identified two discrete latent classes of HED comprising 59% of our sample: these trajectory classes (high increasers and low increasers) corresponded to expected changes and stability in well-established correlates of drinking behaviour, including alcohol-related problems, personal drinking values and alcohol expectancies. Parental awareness and caring and quality of peer relationships during senior year of high school were associated directly and indirectly with HED class membership.

Conclusion  These findings advance the literature by providing information about the developmental course of HED among Asian American young adults. The significant within-group variability in problematic drinking in this sample highlights the fact that subgroups of high-risk drinkers can be identified even in relatively low-risk groups such as Asian Americans.