Alcohol use among Adolescents


Michael Windle

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  • Developmental Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry Series

    Series Editor: Alan E. Kazdin, Yale University

    Recent volumes in this series …

    • CHILD ABUSE, 2nd. Ed. by David A. Wolfe
    • TEMPERAMENT AND CHILD PSYCHOPATHOLOGY by William T. Garrison and Felton J. Earls
    • AUTISM by Laura Schreibman
    • DELINQUENCY IN ADOLESCENCE by Scott W. Henggeler
    • ANXIETY DISORDERS IN CHILDREN by Rachel G. Klein and Cynthia G. Last
    • CHILDREN OF BATTERED WOMEN by Peter G. Jaffe, David A. Wolfe, and Susan Kaye Wilson
    • SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS by Steven P. Schinke, Gilbert J. Botvin, and Mario A. Orlandi
    • CHILD PSYCHIATRIC EPIDEMIOLOGY by Frank C. Verhulst and Hans M. Koot
    • ADOLESCENT SEXUAL BEHAVIOR AND CHILDBEARING by Laurie Schwab Zabin and Sarah C. Hayward
    • BEHAVIOR AND DEVELOPMENT IN FRAGILE X SYNDROME by Elisabeth M. Dykens, Robert M. Hodapp, and James F. Leckman
    • LEARNING DISABILITIES by Byron P. Rourke and Jerel E. Del Dotto
    • PEDIATRIC TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY by Jeffrey H. Snow and Stephen R. Hooper
    • ADOLESCENTS AND THE MEDIA by Victor C. Strasburger
    • CHILDREN'S ADJUSTMENT TO ADOPTION by David M. Brodzinsky, Daniel W. Smith, and Anne B. Brodzinsky
    • MOTOR COORDINATION DISORDERS IN CHILDREN by David A. Sugden and Helen Wright
    • CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE by David M. Fergusson and Paul E. Mullen


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    Series Editor's Introduction

    Interest in child development and adjustment is by no means new. Yet only recently has the study of children benefited from advances in both clinical and scientific research. Advances in the social and biological sciences, the emergence of disciplines and subdisciplines that focus exclusively on childhood and adolescence, and greater appreciation of the impact of such influences as the family, peers, and school have helped accelerate research on developmental psychopathology. Apart from interest in the study of child development and adjustment for its own sake, the need to address clinical problems of adulthood naturally draws one to investigate precursors in childhood and adolescence.

    Within a relatively brief period, the study of psychopathology among children and adolescents has grown considerably. Several different professional journals, annual book series, and handbooks devoted entirely to the study of children and adolescents and their adjustment document the proliferation of work in the field. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of resource material that presents information in an authoritative, systematic, and disseminable fashion. There is a need within the field to convey the latest developments and to represent different disciplines, approaches, and conceptual views to the topics of childhood and adolescent adjustment and maladjustment.

    The Sage Series Developmental Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry is designed to serve several needs of the field. The Series encompasses individual monographs prepared by experts in the fields of clinical child psychology, child psychiatry, child development, and related disciplines. The primary focus is on developmental psychopathology, which here broadly refers to the diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and prevention of problems that arise in the period from infancy through adolescence. A working assumption of the Series is that understanding, identifying, and treating problems of youth must draw on multiple disciplines and diverse views within a given discipline.

    The task for individual contributors is to present the latest theory and research on various topics, including specific types of dysfunction, diagnostic and treatment approaches, and special problem areas that affect adjustment. Core topics within clinical work are addressed by the Series. Authors are asked to bridge potential theory, research, and clinical practice and to outline the current status and future directions. The goals of the Series and the tasks presented to individual contributors are demanding. We have been extremely fortunate in recruiting leaders in the fields who have been able to translate their recognized scholarship and expertise into highly readable works on contemporary topics.

    In this book, Dr. Michael Windle examines alcohol use among adolescents. This book carefully documents the latest research on the scope of the problem, assessment, diagnosis, screening youth for alcohol use, risk and protective factors, treatment, prevention, and social-policy-based intervention programs. Among the many topics that are covered are the relation of alcohol use to substance abuse more generally; biological, psychological, and contextual influences on adolescent drinking; and ethnic, cultural, and gender-based variations in patterns of alcohol use over the course of development. There is a remarkable balance in the coverage of conceptual models of the problem, empirical research, and methodological challenges in evaluating alcohol use over the course of development. The book is forward looking in suggesting promising leads for understanding etiology and effective interventions and in pointing to several lines of research that are priorities for the upcoming years. Dr. Windle's own research on the interrelation of alcohol use to other domains of functioning in adolescents, alcohol use at different points in development, and key developmental themes (e.g., peer relations, cognitive functioning, and sex differences) make this book broad in scope and developmentally informed. The book conveys the significance of adolescent alcohol use as a social and clinical problem and also points to promising leads for its amelioration.

    —Alan E.Kazdin, Ph.D.


    Adolescent alcohol use is pervasive in the United States, with the vast majority of adolescents having consumed alcohol by their senior year of high school. However, public knowledge that most adolescents use alcohol by their senior year of high school provides the health care community and social policymakers with little guidance as to the prevalence of different patterns of drinking behavior (e.g., light versus heavy drinking), the presumed underlying causes of drinking, or the optimal ways to intervene to reduce or eliminate alcohol use among youth. The study of adolescent alcohol use is an interdisciplinary endeavor, with disciplinary contributions from epidemiologists, biologists, clinical and developmental psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, economists, counselors, nurses, and educators. Many of these professionals are concerned with common issues about adolescent alcohol use but due to time constraints and the proliferation of profession-specific journals, they may not be cognizant of relevant research in cognate professions. Likewise, researchers in other specialty areas, graduate students, and health care professionals often seek resources that provide a relatively rapid overview of key issues in a field such as adolescent alcohol use.

    This book attempts to provide representative coverage to a broad and rapidly expanding literature on adolescent alcohol use. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the scope of issues related to adolescent alcohol use, including data on the prevalence of various alcohol use indicators, such as frequency of use and binge drinking. In Chapter 2, a review is provided of approaches to the measurement of alcohol-related behaviors among adolescents, drawing on strategies used in both social survey and clinical diagnostic traditions. Chapter 3 reviews literature that has identified a large number of risk and protective factors for adolescent alcohol use. In Chapter 4, literature is reviewed pertinent to a range of psychosocial, community, and social policy interventions that have attempted to reduce adolescent alcohol use and related problems. Findings from the treatment literature are also included in this chapter. Chapter 5 focuses on some major conceptual and methodological issues that the field of adolescent alcohol use must confront to advance the field toward more optimal solutions for the drinking behaviors of youth.

    I am indebted to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse for their ongoing support of my research on adolescent alcohol use. The support of a Method-to-Extend Research in Time Award (R37AA07861) has significantly affected my career development in adolescent alcohol use and enabled me to broaden my horizons for subsequent research in the field. I am also indebted to my colleagues at the Research Institute on Addictions in Buffalo, New York, where I conducted research for 11 years prior to assuming my current position. I am particularly grateful to Dr. Howard Blane who assisted me early in my career development in the study of adolescent alcohol use. I am also grateful to Peggy Nicholson, my Administrative Assistant, for her technical assistance in preparing this monograph. She was patient and helpful through my many revisions of this book. Last, but certainly not least, I am quite grateful to my wife, Rebecca Windle, who served as a sounding board and editor for much of the material presented in this book. She willingly assisted in this endeavor and was especially pleased (I daresay ecstatic) when it was sent off to the publishers.

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    Author Index

    About the Author

    Michael Windle is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Doctoral Studies Program in Developmental Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received his PhD from the College of Human Development and Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Prior to this current appointment, he was Senior Research Scientist at the New York State Research Institute on Addictions in Buffalo, New York. He recently received an NIH MERIT Award for his prospective study of risk factors and adolescent drinking. Currently, he is an Associate Editor of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, and on the Editorial Boards of Developmental Psychology, Journal of Studies on Alcohol, and Journal of Adolescent Research. His prior books include Children of Alcoholics: Critical Perspectives and The Science of Prevention: Methodological Advances from Alcohol and Substance Abuse Research.

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