Robert A. Zucker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his team looked the relationship between early developmental processes and the continuity of risk for underage and problem drinking by summarizing the evidence on early pathways toward and away from underage drinking. This article has a particular focus on the risk and protective factors, mediators, and moderators of risk for underage drinking that become evident during the preschool and early school years.
In Transitions into Underage Drinking and Problem Drinking: Developmental Processes and Mechanisms between Ages 10-15 - Michael Windle, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University in Atlanta, and his group examined pre- and mid-teen groups during the time when the initial initiation and escalation of alcohol use commonly occurs, in relation to puberty, structural and functional maturation of the brain, and changes in social contexts.
Looking at the next age group, youth aged 16-20, Sandra Brown,Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues review the normative neurological, cognitive, and social changes that typically occur in late adolescence. Their report discusses evidence for the impact of these transitions on individual drinking trajectories. The team also describes evidence linking heavy alcohol use in late adolescence with neurological and social impairments.
Ensuring that pediatricians have access to this new data and a comprehensive view of how alcoholism affects our youth, matched to their developmental processes, will help physicians take a new look at these issues and the impact that early alcohol consumption can have
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NIH/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism