Elementary and middle school predictors of high school drinking problems and maladaptive coping

Hayley A. Cole, Sarah J. Peterson, Gregory T. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


By ages 15–16, a subset of adolescents report problem drinking and engagement in maladaptive coping behaviors, both of which presage future alcohol use disorders. This paper reports on a test of whether these behaviors can be predicted by characteristics of those youth at ages 10–11. In a sample of 1889 adolescents measured in the spring of 5th, 6th, and 10th grade, we found that early pubertal onset, 5th grade drinking behavior, negative affect, low conscientiousness, and urgency all predicted adolescent problem drinking and dysfunctional coping five years later. Reciprocal mediation pathways between 5th and 6th grade drinker status and urgency levels (the disposition to act rashly when highly emotional) predicted 10th grade problem drinking. Fifth grade drinker status positively predicted 10th grade emotion-oriented coping and negatively predicted 10th grade task-oriented coping, and these effects appear to have been mediated by 6th grade urgency. Mid-adolescent drinking problems and maladaptive coping may be influenced by transactions among multiple factors. Implications for intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Coping
  • Drinking
  • Personality
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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