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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Adolescent personality profiles, neighborhood income, and young adult alcohol use: A longitudinal study

Personality traits and socioeconomic factors such as neighborhood income have been identified as risk factors for future alcohol abuse, but findings have been inconsistent possibly due to interactions between risk and protective factors.

The present study examined the prediction of drinking behavior using empirically derived multi-trait patterns and tested for moderation by average neighborhood income.

Using latent profile analysis (LPA) in a sample of 863 Dutch adolescents, four empirical personality profiles based on 6 traits were observed: Extraverted, Dysregulated, Neurotic, and Regulated. Dysregulated and Extraverted youth drank higher quantities of alcohol more frequently in young adulthood relative to the Regulated group, above and beyond the effects of baseline adolescent drinking, age, and sex.

Profile levels of neuroticism did not appear to affect drinking behavior.

Average neighborhood income did not moderate adolescent personality and young adult drinking.

These findings suggest that future alcohol research should consider individual trait patterns to inform prevention and intervention efforts, and theories implicating both positive and negative emotionality traits as risk factors for drinking are preferable to those emphasizing the importance of the latter.

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