Popularity and Alcohol Use and the Effects of Peers and Pubertal Development
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Early drinking in adolescence is associated with later risks, such as problematic use in young adulthood. Research shows that being popular is a possible predictor of alcohol use among adolescents. In addition, peers and an early pubertal development might influence the relation between popularity and alcohol use. However, studies about these moderating factors are limited. In this paper it is aimed to investigate the longitudinal relation between popularity and alcohol use among adolescents and to investigate the effects of having alcohol drinking peers and an early pubertal development within this relationship. The used data is from the first three waves of the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) and contained 2229 preadolescents in wave 1 (Mage = 11.1, SD = 0.6). Results of the regression analysis showed that whilst popularity predicted an increase in alcohol use of adolescents, this relationship was not stronger for those with drinking peers early pubertal development. It is found that adolescents with more alcohol drinking peers were more likely to drink alcohol themselves. The findings implicate that is important that adolescents find other ways than drinking alcohol to increase or maintain their status.