Psychosocial Processes and Mechanisms of Risk and Protection

September 2004
Alcohol Research & Health;2004/2005, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p143
Academic Journal
Psychosocial research on adolescent drinking includes studies of personality and the impact of particular personality traits on drinking risk, expectancies that is, the effects someone expects after drinking alcohol), and cognitive development. Although studies involving adolescents have not identified specific sets of personality traits that uniquely predict alcohol use, some traits have been shown to be associated with heavy alcohol use and alcohol use disorders. These traits include disinhibition or poor self-regulation, impulsiveness and aggression, novelty-seeking, and negative affectivity. Externalizing behaviors in childhood and early adolescence have been found to predict alcohol use disorders in early adulthood, as have certain internalizing behaviors. This article examines the theories and psychosocial processes thought to underlie underage drinking.


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