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Are Educational Aspirations Associated with the Risk of Alcohol Use and Alcohol Use-Related Problems Among Adolescents?

NCJ Number
Substance Use & Misuse Volume: 40 Issue: 2 Dated: 2005 Pages: 151-169
Rosa M. Crum; Carla L. Storr; James C. Anthony
Date Published
19 pages
Using prospective data, this study tested the hypothesis that public middle-school students with high educational aspirations would report less alcohol use and alcohol-related problems in the subsequent year.
Study participants were 1,229 students in an urban sample of public middle schools. In 1992 (t0) and 1993 (t1), data on educational aspirations, alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems were obtained from the students. Latent variable modeling was used to assess the relationship between educational aspirations at baseline (t0) and alcohol consumption in the following year (t1) under two separate models, one that examined the relationship of educational aspirations to self-reported alcohol use (model 1) and the second that examined any link between alcohol-related problems and educational aspirations (model 2). The potentially confounding variables of age, sex, race/ethnicity, alcohol use by peers, self-reported school performance, and neighborhood environment were held constant in each model. Each model also took into account the prior year's report of alcohol use and alcohol-related problems. The findings show that students with high educational aspirations were no more nor less likely to report subsequent alcohol use or alcohol-related problems than students without high educational aspirations. The strongest predictor of alcohol use and problem drinking at t1 was alcohol use or alcohol-related problems at t0. Other student characteristics were linked to alcohol use at follow-up, including race/ethnicity (being non-Black), neighborhood environment, and having friends who used alcohol. Variables linked with alcohol-related problems at t1 also included race/ethnicity, peer drinking, and neighborhood environment, as well as older age. Thus, the findings do not support the tested hypothesis. 4 tables and 59 references