A Developmental Perspective on Underage Alcohol use

Dramatic developmental changes unfold as individuals mature from birth to childhood, from childhood to adolescence, and from adolescence to early adulthood. These include physiological changes-such as physical growth, brain development, and puberty-as well as psychological and social changes-such as an evolving sense of self, forming more mature relationships with friends, and transitioning from middle school to high school. Developmental changes factor into underage drinking. For example, as a high school student transitions to college, he or she may experience greater freedom and autonomy, creating more opportunities to use alcohol. Underage drinking also can influence development, potentially affecting the course of a person's life. For example, alcohol use can interfere with school performance and/or negatively affect peer relationships. This Alcohol Alert examines the complex relationship between underage drinking and development: how developmental factors influence drinking, the social and physical consequences of alcohol use, and how various developmental stages can be specifically targeted to design more effective measures for preventing or treating underage drinking.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Masten AS;  Faden VB Zucker RA Spear LP.
  • Issue

    Alcohol Res Health / pages 3-15 /volume 32, No. 1
  • Published Date