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The effect of early adolescent alcohol use on antisocial behavior was examined at 1- and 2-year follow-up in Washington State, United States, and Victoria, Australia. Each state used the same methods to survey statewide representative samples of students (N = 1,858, 52% female) in 2002 (Grade 7 [G7]), 2003 (Grade 8 [G8]), and 2004 (Grade 9 [G9]). Rates of lifetime, current, frequent, and heavy episodic alcohol use were higher in Victoria than Washington State, whereas rates of five antisocial behaviors were generally comparable across states. After controlling for established risk factors, few associations between alcohol use and antisocial behavior remained, except that G7 current use predicted G8 police arrests and stealing and G9 carrying a weapon and stealing; G7 heavy episodic use predicted G8 and G9 police arrests; and G7 lifetime use predicted G9 carrying a weapon. Hence, risk factors other than alcohol were stronger predictors of antisocial behaviors.


School of Psychology

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Psychology Commons