181103 Decision Making Process in Alcohol Use among Youth

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 1:24 PM

Jie Wu Weiss, PhD , Department of Health Science, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
Michele Mouttapa, PhD , Department of Health Science, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
The persistence of alcohol use among youth when the harmful effects are well known constitutes a major puzzle for researchers. This paper reports findings from two studies exploring the rational, cost-benefit decision making processes that youth engage in when deciding to take up alcohol use. The descriptive Multi-Attribute Utility (MAU) model was used to examine whether the perceived consequences of alcohol use were associated with alcohol usage. This model allows for a detailed investigation of the impact of perceived alcohol-related consequences on the decision to use alcohol, and includes a momentary salience parameter to incorporate proximal influences. Participants' past month alcohol use and their perceived consequences of alcohol usage were assessed.

Data collected for Study 1 were from the first year of a 2-year school-based study among 1157 middle students in Southern California. Data described in Study 2 are from a cross-sectional study with 441 undergraduate students at a university in Southern California. Results from both studies are consistent, in that there are significant differences in the mean standardized MAU scores between those who reported past month alcohol use and those who had not (F(1, 1054) = 22.1 (p = .000); and F(1, 306) = 22.00 (p = .000) respectively). The adjusted odds ratio of alcohol use was 1.48 (95% CI= 1.20-1.81) for study 1 and was 1.96 (95% CI= 1.43-2.68) for study 2, indicating that one standard deviation unit increase in total MAU scores is associated with a 48% or 96% increased likelihood of past month alcohol use respectively.

Learning Objectives:
Although the negative consequences of alcohol is known to yoth, they still do so. This study may enhance our understanding of the underlying forces for youth to use alcohol. The Multi-Attribute Utility Model acknowledges the impact of youths' preceived negative as well as positive consequences of alcohol on their alcohol usage.

Keywords: Youth, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I'm the major investigator of the study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.