Protective strategies: A mediator of risk associated with age of drinking onset

Rebekka S. Palmer, William R. Corbin, Jessica M. Cronce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The goal of the current study was to determine if failure to develop/utilize alcohol-specific strategies to manage drinking behavior might serve as a mechanism through which early alcohol exposure leads to higher levels of later alcohol use and alcohol-related negative consequences, while taking into account impulsivity as an underlying risk factor for both of these outcomes. Data were collected between September and December of 2005 from a random sample of college students via an online survey. A total of 309 students provided complete data on all measure of interest. Separate regression analyses predicting typical weekly alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems indicated that use of alcohol-specific protective strategies partially mediated the effect of age of first use on these outcomes. An earlier age of onset was associated with less frequent use of alcohol-specific protective strategies, which in turn was associated with drinking- and alcohol-related problems. Implications for tailoring alcohol prevention and intervention programs targeting adolescents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-491
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Age of first use
  • Alcohol
  • College students
  • Protective behavioral strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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