Prospective Relations Between Growth in Drinking and Familial Stressors Across Adolescence

Kevin M. King, BrookeS G. Molina, Laurie Chassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Although there is much empirical support for the relation between stress and alcohol consumption in adolescence, it is unclear whether exposure to stressors is associated with overall trajectories or temporary elevations in drinking. Moreover, little research has explored whether the stress-alcohol use association in adolescence may be explained by shared risk factors that produce both individual differences in stress exposure and elevated risk for alcohol use. The present study tested these hypotheses within the context of a state-trait model of family stressors in a prospectively studied sample of children at high risk for alcoholism: children of alcoholic parents and matched controls (n = 451). Levels and growth in alcohol use were modeled longitudinally from ages 13 to 17. Results indicated that shared risk factors accounted for 53% of the impact of trait family stressors on growth in adolescent drinking, but time-specific exposure to familial stressors still predicted short-term boosts in alcohol use in adolescence. These findings imply that trait familial stressors mark adolescents at risk for alcohol use and also impact adolescent alcohol use within a short time frame (i.e., over 1 year vs. over many years) when they occur above and beyond the adolescent's "usual load" of stressors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-622
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • adolescent
  • alcohol use
  • growth curve modeling
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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