Discrepancy between how children perceive their own alcohol risk and how they perceive alcohol risk for other children longitudinally predicts alcohol use


This paper examined discrepancies between children's self-perceptions of the riskiness of alcohol use versus their perceptions of the riskiness of alcohol use for other children, and whether these discrepancies predicted children's future alcohol use. Participants included 234 children (M=11 years, 45.3% female) who completed baseline and one-year follow-up assessments on self-perceived riskiness of alcohol use, perceived riskiness of alcohol use for other same-age children, and own past year alcohol use. When considering child age and gender, baseline alcohol use, and the individual reports of the riskiness of alcohol use, the interaction between alcohol use riskiness reports prospectively predicted greater odds of alcohol use. The highest percentage of childhood alcohol use at one-year follow-up came from those children with both low self-perceived riskiness of alcohol use and high perceived riskiness of alcohol use for other children. Children's perceptions of multiple people's risk from alcohol use result in identifying important subgroups of children at risk for early-onset alcohol use.