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Young Girls’ Expectancies about the Effects of Alcohol, Future Intentions and Patterns of Use
Alison E. Hipwell, Helene R. White, Rolf Loeber, Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, Tammy Chung, Mark A. Sembower
Objective: In recent years, rates of alcohol use among young female adolescents have been increasing. Despite such trends, little is known about the precursors of use and intentions to use alcohol among preadolescents. The current prospective study examines the prevalence and correlates of alcohol use, future intentions and alcohol-related expectancies among young girls from ages 8 to 10 years. Method: Alcohol use behaviors and attitudes were assessed annually over a 3-year period in a community sample of 1,161 preadolescent girls. The girls comprised the two oldest cohorts of the ongoing Pittsburgh Girls Study (N = 2,451). Data were collected via separate parent and child interviews conducted in the participants’ homes. Results: The prevalence of alcohol use without parental permission was less than 3% in any given year between ages 8 and 10. Most girls reported sipping only, and there was little continuity of use across assessments. Alcohol-related expectancies were predominantly negative during this period but decreased with age. Positive expectancies, however, increased, particularly among white girls. Early alcohol use was predicted by black race and peer use. Intentions to use alcohol were predicted by low levels of negative expectancies and peer use. Conclusions: This study adds to the knowledge of use of alcohol and the development of positive and negative alcohol-related expectancies in girls of elementary school age. (J. Stud. Alcohol 66: 630-639, 2005)