Adolescent gender differences in risk of alcohol use

Jessica E Nargiso, University of Rhode Island


A significant amount of research has examined the complex set of ecological factors that are associated with alcohol use and abuse during adolescence. Much of this research has focused exclusively on males or failed to report differences by gender. Shifting trends towards earlier age of onset and earlier development of problems among girls highlights the need to explore these factors in both adolescent males and females. Three hundred and seventy middle school students completed self-report assessments of several ecological domains of risk (e.g., peer, family management, community) at two different time points (beginning of sixth grade, end of seventh grade). This paper uses Structural Equation Modeling to examine the relationships between ecological risk constructs and early alcohol use as well as whether gender moderates the relationship between risk and early alcohol use. The overall mediated structural model provided a good fit of the data, suggesting that poor family management practices are mediated by peer-level risk factors. While the regression parameters did not reach significance, the findings support the important role of peers in influencing alcohol use in both males and females. Poor family management practices were also associated with greater risk in adolescent males while poorer relationship quality between parents and their children was associated with greater risk of alcohol use in females in the sample. Analyses also revealed the association between community influences and early alcohol use, but did not demonstrate any gender differences in this relationship. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Gender Studies

Recommended Citation

Jessica E Nargiso, "Adolescent gender differences in risk of alcohol use" (2009). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3378089.