How Very Young Girls View Alcohol
Tags: alcohol use female adolescents future intentions girls Pittsburgh Girls Study
Alcohol use among all adolescents has always been an area of concern. In recent years, the rates of alcohol use among very young female adolescents have been of special interest, and have been increasing as well. This study examines the prevalence of alcohol use, accompanying sociodemographic factors, expectancies, and future intentions among girls eight to 10 years of age.
Researchers examined data taken from the ongoing Pittsburgh Girls Study, in which alcohol-use behaviors and attitudes were assessed annually during a three-year period among a community sample of preadolescent girls. For this study of 2,451 age-eligible girls, data were collected during separate parent and child interviews conducted in the participants’ homes.
The prevalence of alcohol use without parental permission was less than three percent in any given year between the ages of eight and 10. Most of the girls reported sipping only and there was little continuity of use across assessments. Alcohol-related expectancies (expectations to drink) were predominantly negative during this period and decreased with age but expectancies increased particularly among white girls. This increase in positive expectancies from age nine onward may signal girls’ increasing readiness to initiate alcohol use that may, in turn, require prevention programs to begin earlier, during the elementary school years.
(Hipwell, AE, White, HR, Loeber, R, Stouthamer-Loeber, M, Chung, T, Sembower, MA: Young girls’ expectancies about the effects of alcohol, future intentions and patterns of use. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 66:630-639, 2005.)