A model to determine the likely age of an adolescent's first drink of alcohol

Samuel Kuperman, Grace Chan, John R. Kramer, Leah Wetherill, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Danielle Dick, Victor Hesselbrock, Bernice Porjesz, Madhavi Rangaswamy, Marc Schuckit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: With the use of a new cohort of adolescent subjects, predictors from the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism (SSAGA) interview and the Achenbach Youth Self Report (YSR) were combined to model age of first drink (AFD). METHODS: Subjects consisted of 820 adolescents (ages 14-17) drawn from the current phase of the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism. Three Cox proportional hazards models were considered. Model 1 contained SSAGA variables equivalent to AFD predictors from our previous study: interview age, family history of alcohol dependence, and number of conduct disorder symptoms. Model 2 incorporated 2 additional SSAGA questions (best friends drink and smoked a cigarette before a reported AFD) plus 8 YSR-derived scale scores. Model 3 was a reduced version of model 2, retaining only significant predictors. RESULTS: Model 2 was a significant improvement over model 1. Model 3 was the best and the most parsimonious of the 3 with respect to likelihood ratio and Wald x2 tests and retained only 5 variables from model 2. Included variables were the following: (1) best friends drink, (2) membership in a high-risk alcohol dependence family, (3) number of conduct disorder symptoms, (4) YSR externalizing score, and (5) YSR social problems score.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-248
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Age of first use
  • Alcohol/drug use
  • Modeling age of first use
  • Predictor variables


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