Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Addiction
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1489691, 9 pages
Research Article

Mid-Adolescent Predictors of Adult Drinking Levels in Early Adulthood and Gender Differences: Longitudinal Analyses Based on the South Australian School Leavers Study

1School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
2Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, 901 Umeå, Sweden

Received 8 April 2016; Accepted 16 June 2016

Academic Editor: Marlon P. Mundt

Copyright © 2016 Paul H. Delfabbro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is considerable public health interest in understanding what factors during adolescence predict longer-term drinking patterns in adulthood. The aim of this study was to examine gender differences in the age 15 social and psychological predictors of less healthy drinking patterns in early adulthood. The study investigates the relative importance of internalising problems, other risky health behaviours, and peer relationships after controlling for family background characteristics. A sample of 812 young people who provided complete alcohol consumption data from the age of 15 to 20 years (5 measurement points) were drawn from South Australian secondary schools and given a detailed survey concerning their psychological and social wellbeing. Respondents were classified into two groups based upon a percentile division: those who drank at levels consistently below NHMRC guidelines and those who consistently drank at higher levels. The results showed that poorer age 15 scores on measures of psychological wellbeing including scores on the GHQ-12, self-esteem, and life-satisfaction as well as engagement in health-related behaviours such as smoking or drug-taking were associated with higher drinking levels in early adulthood. The pattern of results was generally similar for both genders. Higher drinking levels were most strongly associated with smoking and marijuana use and poorer psychological wellbeing during adolescence.