What is it about?
Early onset of regular drinking may be a causal risk factor for the development of alcohol use disorder, whereas age of first drink may instead serve as an indicator of familial risk. Interventions targeting early patterns of alcohol use, therefore, may be more effective at reducing future drinking related harms than are those targeting initiation of any alcohol use.
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Why is it important?
Previous research has demonstrated a link between early age of first drink and later alcohol problems, but this research has typically not accounted for other factors like genes and the shared environmental in order to demonstrate potential causal effects on later problems. By comparing age of first drink and age of regular drinking as predictors of alcohol use disorder symptoms within a sample of twins, we demonstrated a potential causal effect of early regular drinking, not age of first drink, on later alcohol use disorder.
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This page is a summary of: Comparing the potential causal influence of two indicators of early alcohol use on later alcohol use disorder symptoms., Journal of Abnormal Psychology, October 2019, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/abn0000474.
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