Aims: Recent research suggests that early onset of intoxication (EOI) may be of greater importance for a wide range of subsequent adverse outcomes than early drinking experiences without intoxication. However, research on antecedents of EOI is scarce. The present study identifies predictors of EOI and whether they differ from those of early onset of drinking (EOD).
Methods: Data was drawn from the prospective Tracking Opportunities and Problems (TOPP) study of Norwegian families (n = 382), which followed up mothers and their children with six data collections from childhood (age 1.5) to adolescence (age 14.5). Self-reports from the adolescents (parenting practices, adolescent's conduct problems and friends' deviant behaviour) and their mothers (adolescent temperament, socio-economic factors and household alcohol problems) were used to identify predictors of EOI and EOD.
Findings: A variety of temperamental, socio-economic, and family factors predicted EOI, whereas EOD was predicted of substantially fewer variables. Particularly, when controlling for relevant covariates, low levels of shyness, own conduct problems and having friends with deviant behaviour prospectively predicted EOI, but not EOD.
Conclusions: Future research and prevention efforts should take into consideration that EOI and EOD without getting drunk appear to be predicted by different risk factors in childhood and adolescence.