An Examination of the Pathways of Depressive Symptoms and Heavy Drinking from Adolescence to Adulthood
Gustafson, Emily Anne
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This study examined the dynamic interaction of heavy alcohol use and depressive symptoms at three points over a time period of 11 years from adolescence to adulthood using a subset of data from the nationally representative, multi-year, longitudinal data source, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Results revealed that, in general, those that drink heavily with greater frequency are more likely to have a greater number of depressive symptoms. Conversely, those with more early depressive symptoms are more likely to be early heavy drinkers, but less likely to be heavy drinkers six years down the road. Additionally, early depressive symptoms affect later trajectories in binge drinking. Gender, racial/ethnic group, and college attendance all affected the relationship over time for heavy drinking and were generally related to the average but not the change over time of depressive symptoms. Results are discussed in the context of Elder's life course theory that views developmental trajectories in relation to social pathways.