Background: The decision among young people to drink is complex and reflects multiple domains of influence. This paper applies the results from a previous test of an externalizing-based model predicting heavy drinking and alcohol problems in the probands from the San Diego Prospective Study to evaluate how similar characteristics relate to the decision to drink in their offspring.
Methods: Data were generated from multiple sources for 152 offspring with a mean age of 17.2 years. Information on the family histories, personal alcohol and other substance use, socioeconomic stratum, the child’s gestational problems, and additional characteristics were gathered from face-to-face interviews with a parent approximately every 5 years between their mid-20s and mid-40s. Data regarding the drinking status and additional variables applicable to the offspring were extracted from the 25-year (T25) epoch of the family evaluations using data supplied directly by the offspring. The relationships of variables to the drinking status in that generation were determined through correlations, regression analyses, and an AMOS-based structural equation model (SEM).
Results: Significant correlations to the drinking status in offspring were observed for age, but not for sex. Using age-adjusted backgrounds and data supplied by the offspring at T25, the most robust correlations to the drinking status were seen for a disinhibition measure, peer drinking, expectations of the effects of alcohol, and the history of having worked outside the home. When placed into an SEM, the former 3 variables performed in a manner similar to that observed in the original probands in the prediction of the drinking status, in a model with good fit characteristics.
Conclusions: These data from a prospective study support the importance of similar domains across 2 generations in characterizing age-appropriate alcohol-related outcomes.