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Impact of Perceived Reinforcement From Alcohol and Involvement in Leisure Activities on Adolescent Alcohol Use

NCJ Number
Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse Volume: 22 Issue: 4 Dated: September - October 2013 Pages: 340-363
Abby L. Goldstein; Anne-Marie Wall; Christine Wekerle; Marvin Krank
Date Published
September 2013
24 pages
This study examined adolescent alcohol use within the context of youth involvement and reinforcement from alternative leisure activities.
The purpose of the present study was to examine adolescent alcohol use within the context of youth involvement and reinforcement from alternative leisure activities and also to determine whether perceived reinforcement from alcohol (outcome expectancy liking [OEL]) impacts this relationship. Participants were 956 students in grades 7 through 9 who participated in the Project on Adolescent Trajectories and Health (PATH), a 3-year longitudinal study of adolescent risk behaviors and health outcomes. A path model included Time 1 and Time 3 youth self-reported alcohol use, Time 2 youth ratings of reinforcement potential from alternative activities and OEL scores, and Time 3 perceived access to alcohol. The final model provided a good fit for the data and revealed several significant paths. In particular, alcohol use was positively associated with reinforcement potential from party attendance and involvement in social activities, and negatively associated with reinforcement potential from religious involvement and involvement in home/family activities. In addition, OEL was a partial mediator for party attendance and religious activities. These findings highlight the need for prevention programs that focus on reducing adolescent alcohol use through increasing access to substitutable leisure activities that can compete with behaviors maintained by alcohol's positive reinforcement value for youth. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.