Abstract: Family-Related Negative Life Events Predict Drinking Behaviors in Early Adolescence (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

67 Family-Related Negative Life Events Predict Drinking Behaviors in Early Adolescence

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
An-Jou Chen, BS, Student-Master's, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
Nadia Wang, MS, Research assistant, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
Wei-J Chen, ScD, Professor, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Chuan-Yu Chen, PhD, Professor, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
Introduction: The connection between negative life events and alcohol problems has been well documented in adults, yet such association is less explored in early life stages. The present study aims to investigate the extent to which family-related negative life events in late childhood may affect subsequent drinking behaviors.

Methods: Data were obtained from the Alcohol-Related Experiences among Children (AREC). A prospective cohort of 946 6th graders (age 11-12) were ascertained from 17 elementary schools in northern Taiwan in 2006 (response rate=61.0%wt); subsequent assessment was conducted at 7th grade (age 12-13; n=823, follow-up rate [FR]=87.1%wt), and 8th grade (age 13-14; n=776, FR=82.6%wt). Information concerning individual socio-demographics, family characteristics, negative life events (measured by the Chinese version of the Life Event Checklist), family drinking behaviors, and alcohol-related behaviors was collected by self-administered paper-and-pencil questionnaires. Complex survey analyses in the zero-inflated negative binomial distribution were used to estimate the association linking family-related negative life events and past-year drinking occasions at 8th grade.

Results: Among 776 participating students, nearly 40%wt had drunk at least once in the year preceding 8th grade, and past-year cumulative drinking occasions ranged from 1 to 50. Catastrophic illness of families (n=142, 18.7%wt), increased parents' quarrel (n=97, 13.8%wt), and death of a family member(n=104, 13.6%wt) are the top-three family-related negative life events reported in late childhood, and 40.7%wt had experienced one or more family-related negative life events. The average of drinking occasions in the children sub-grouped by the cumulative family-related negative life events (i.e. one or zero, two, and three or more) were 1.2, 1.4, and 2.4 (trend analysis, P<0.05), respectively. Having experienced three or more negative life events may increase one’s drinking occasions in adolescence by 97% (95% Confidence Intervals=1.30-2.99).

Conclusions: The finding indicates that children experiencing multiple negative life events may drink on more occasions in adolescence. Possible psychological and biological mechanisms underlying the observed association may warrant future attention.