The social context of four adolescent drinking patterns

Dennis L. Thombs, Kenneth H. Beck

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43 Scopus citations


The social context of adolescent drinking involves the combined influence of motivational and situational factors. This investigation assessed the usefulness of the Social Context of Drinking Scales in discriminating among four adolescent drinker types. Light and moderate drinkers were classified by relatively low scores on alcohol consumption measures and the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI), a measure of drinking consequences. Heavy drinkers were identified by high consumption scores, but a low RAPI score. High-consequence drinkers were those with high RAPI scores. A discriminant analysis of the drinker groups yielded three statistically significant functions. The first one most clearly distinguished light from high-consequence drinkers, and was strongly correlated with the variable 'Social Facilitation'. The second function, which best separated heavy from high-consequence drinkers, was dominated by the variable 'Stress Control'. Alcohol use intensity was not important to the discrimination between these two types of alcohol abusers. Moderate and heavy drinkers were distinguished from one another by gender on a third function. The findings support the discriminant validity of the Social Context of Drinking Scales and point to social psychological differences among types of adolescent drinkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Education Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1994


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