Alcohol-related attitudes are evident before children have personal experience drinking alcohol and represent key proximal predictors of alcohol use, but relatively little is known about how early life characteristics predict these attitudes. Among late childhood lifetime alcohol abstainers (Mage = 10.67 years; 51% girls), we examine predictors of positive alcohol expectancies and perceived risk of alcohol use. Data from the Millennium Cohort Study, an ongoing nationally representative longitudinal study of children born in the UK, were available from 11,097 children who completed the self-report survey at modal age 11 and reported never drinking alcohol. A sequential structural model suggested that sociodemographic factors were distal predictors of age 11 alcohol attitudes that operated, in part, through family and child risk factors (measured at ages 3 to 7). Alcohol attitudes varied by sociodemographics; for example, boys had higher positive expectancies than girls and White British children had higher positive expectancies and lower perceived risk than Black British and Asian British children. In terms of family factors, parent alcohol problems predicted children's lower perceived risk, and higher parent-child conflict predicted more positive expectancies. For child factors, children's greater cognitive skills predicted higher perceived risk, and internalizing problems predicted more positive expectancies. Indirect effects from sociodemographics through parent-child conflict and internalizing problems predicted positive expectancies; indirect effects through parent alcohol problems and cognitive skills predicted perceived risk. Future research should delve further into mechanisms underlying the development of alcohol attitudes and their potential as malleable targets for prevention.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Millennium Cohort Study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (USA). The content here is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsors.
The Millennium Cohort Study was funded primarily by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Collection of alcohol expectancies and alcohol use variables at age 11 were funded by grant R01 AA019606 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Authors' effort on this manuscript was supported by R01 AA019606 and ESRC RES-579-0001.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd
- Perceived risk