Trajectories of alcohol use during the transition to adulthood

People's alcohol use and abuse tend to increase, peak, and then decrease as they go through the transition to adulthood, a period that spans the late teenage years through the mid- to late twenties. However, more specific pathways, or trajectories, of alcohol use are embedded within the normative alcohol use pathway. Studying these trajectories of alcohol use can elucidate the origins and consequences of alcohol problems as well as guide prevention and treatment programs. Models of the average trend (i.e., normative trajectory approaches) are simpler than models that posit multiple trajectories and may replicate more consistently across samples and age spans. However, multiple-trajectory approaches allow for a more specific understanding of the origins, developmental course, and outcomes of alcohol use and abuse among adolescents and young adults. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (from the journal abstract)