A series of items that measure the social context of alcohol consumption among adolescents was administered in a questionnaire survey to over 1,300 high school students. Emerging from a factor analysis were five factors which suggested that drinking occurs in the following social contexts: drinking for social facilitation where adults are not present, drinking at school or during school-related activities, drinking for stress control, drinking for conformity or to be part of a group, and drinking under parental supervision at home. Scales based on these factors appeared to be reliable, free from social desirability bias, and able to discriminate problem drinkers from nonproblem drinkers. The most important of these factor was drinking for social facilitation that is not restrained by the presence of adults. These findings reinforce the validity of examining the social context of drinking (which involves situational as well as motivational reasons for drinking) to uncover important etiological contributors of alcohol abuse ine an adolescent population.