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Explaining Higher Levels of Alcohol Use among Working Adolescents: An Analysis of Potential Explanatory Variables
Mallie J. Paschall, Christopher L. Ringwalt, Robert L. Flewelling
Objective: The purpose of this study was to explain higher rates of alcohol use observed among working adolescents relative to nonworking adolescents. Method: In-home survey data were collected from a representative sample of 4,497 (50% male) 14-17 year olds who participated in the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine whether relationships between work status and past-month alcohol use and heavy drinking would persist after adjusting for demographic characteristics and selected risk and protective factors in the community, family, school and peer-individual domains. Results: As anticipated, significantly higher rates of past-month alcohol use and heavy drinking were reported by working than nonworking adolescents. Multivariate analyses indicated that the higher rates of past-month alcohol use and heavy drinking among working adolescents were largely explained by demographic characteristics (e.g., age, race/ethnicity), together with perceived drinking norms among adults, other students and friends. Conclusions: Findings of this study suggest that the relationship between employment and alcohol use among adolescents is largely spurious, due to demographic differences between working and nonworking adolescents. Our findings also suggest, however, that working adolescents are more likely to be exposed to adults and peers who drink, which may be attributed in part to their work setting. (J. Stud. Alcohol 63: 169-178, 2002)