Does alcohol availability at home predict the onset of alcohol use in adolescents?
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Early onset of alcohol use in adolescents causes several problems, such as health and social problems. A predictor of the onset of adolescents’ alcohol use might be alcohol availability at home. Therefore, this study researched the relation between alcohol availability at home and the onset of alcohol use. 381 adolescents (335 boys, 42 girls, 4 unknown) from 17 different special education schools were included in a longitudinal study, where they filled out questionnaires about their alcohol use. Data of two measurement waves (mean age T1 = 13.57 years, mean age T2 = 14.14 years) was used to examine the effect of alcohol availability at home on the onset of alcohol use, checking for moderation effects of impulsivity and sensation seeking. Higher alcohol availability rates significantly predicted early onset of alcohol use. No significant effects were found for the moderation of impulsivity or sensation seeking. Thus, alcohol availability at home does increase the likelihood that adolescents start drinking alcohol early, however this relation is not stronger for adolescents with impulsive and sensation seeking characteristics. To decrease the problems of adolescents who start drinking alcohol at an early age, alcohol availability at home should be minimized.