Developmental Models of High-Risk Alcohol Use & Social Roles in Young Adulthood

Across the life course, alcohol use reaches its peak for most individuals during young adulthood (YA), and use at this time is associated with many acute negative consequences and potential longer-term effects. During this time, changes in alcohol use and heavy drinking have been found to be a function of changes in social roles and contexts. However, little is known about how individuals move into and out of these roles in real time, what types and characteristics of role transitions (e.g., role-related goal importance, role commitment, satisfaction, stress, and overload) are most associated with immediate and long-term changes in alcohol use, as well as larger changes in drinking trajectories and functioning, and who may be most at risk for alcohol-related consequences during these transitions. This research project focuses on alcohol use during the transition to adulthood and will explore two developmental models that have been posited to explain why alcohol use increases during young adulthood (YA, roughly ages 18-25): a Transitions Catalyst/Impediment model and a coping-focused Transitions Overload model of simultaneous developmental role transitions.