Document Type



Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU)

Publication Date



Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Based on prospective British Cohort Study data, adolescent alcohol use predicted the timing and stability of committed partnerships between 16 and 34 years (n = 3278; 59% female). Propensity score methods balanced age 16 heavy drinkers (32.4%) and nonheavy drinkers on a range of relevant risk factors assessed in infancy and childhood. Adolescent heavy drinking predicted having ever cohabited, earlier transitions into cohabiting and marital relationships, more breakups, and an increased likelihood of divorce. Gender and social class moderated these relationships; heavy-drinking working-class males were especially likely to cohabit and to experience early entry into cohabitation and marriage. Implications for practitioners focus on the benefits of reducing adolescent heavy drinking and precocious transitions to committed partnerships.

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© 2012 Alliance for Children and Families

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