This three-year collaborative international project between the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington and the Center for Adolescent Health at the University of Melbourne investigates the impact of individual differences and context on alcohol use during late childhood and early adolescence. The International Youth Development Study (IYDS, R. F. Catalano, PI) collected data in 2002 from 5,769 students in three cohorts (approximately 1,000 students in Grades 5, 7, and 9) using matched procedures and recruitment of statewide representative samples in Washington State in the U.S. and Victoria, Australia. Each cohort was followed over 2 and 3 years (98% completion), resulting in a sample with an age span from 10 to 16 years. Student reports were supplemented with a parent telephone interview and three school administrator reports of the policy context of participants’ schools.
The current study uses existing IYDS data to examine similarities and differences in predictors of alcohol use, misuse, and other problems. A unique aspect of this study is the examination of school policy effects on student drug use. Analyses will yield new information on the local and cross-national influences associated with early adolescent alcohol use and symptoms of alcohol use disorders, enabling the cultural generalization of risk influences and alcohol consequences.