Research has shown a developmental process of maturing out of alcohol involvement beginning in young adulthood, but the precise nature of changes characterizing maturing out is unclear. We used latent transition analysis to investigate these changes in a high-risk sample from a longitudinal study of familial alcoholism (N = 844; 51% children of alcoholics; 53% male, 71% non-Hispanic Caucasian, 27% Hispanic). Analyses classified participants into latent drinking statuses during late adolescence (ages 17-22), young adulthood (ages 23-28), and adulthood (ages 29-40), and characterized transitions among these statuses over time. The resulting four statuses were abstainers, low-risk drinkers who typically drank less than weekly and rarely binged or showed drinking problems, moderate-risk drinkers who typically binged less than weekly and showed moderate risk for drinking problems, and high-risk drinkers who typically binged at least weekly and showed high risk for drinking problems. Maturing out between late adolescence and young adulthood was most common among initial high-risk drinkers, but they typically declined to moderate-risk drinking rather than to nonrisky drinking statuses. This suggests that the developmental phenomenon of maturing out pertains primarily to relatively high-risk initial drinkers and that many high-risk drinkers who mature out merely reduce rather than eliminate their risky drinking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health