Youth gender differences in alcohol use: A prospective study of multiple youth assets and the neighborhood environment


Research has identified factors (assets) that protect youth from engaging in risk behaviors including alcohol use. Very little research has examined asset/nonuse of alcohol associations by youth gender or determined if asset/nonuse of alcohol associations are influenced by the neighborhood environment. The purpose of the study was to determine if multiple youth assets and neighborhood factors are differentially associated with youth nonuse of alcohol by gender. Method: Five waves of data were collected annually from households (N = 1111) randomly selected to participate in the Youth Asset Study. Seventeen assets and 6 neighborhood factors assessed at waves 1 - 4 were analyzed longitudinally using marginal logistic regression to predict nonuse of alcohol at waves 2 - 5. Results: Sample mean age was 14.3 years, 52% female; 39% white, 28% Hispanic, 23% African-American, and 9% other. Numerous assets were prospec- tively associated with alcohol nonuse for females (12 assets) and males (16 assets). Three assets were significantly more protective from alcohol use for males compared to females. Final modeling indicated that three assets were protective from alcohol use for both genders and that one asset was protective only for males. There were no significant associations between the neighborhood variables and nonuse of alcohol, and the neighborhood variables did not influence the asset/nonuse of alcohol associations. Conclusions: Youth assets appear to protect both genders from future alcohol use but males may benefit even more from asset-building prevention programming. Youth alcohol use and alcohol nonuse/asset associations may not be influenced by the neighborhood environment.

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Oman, R. , Tolma, E. , Vesely, S. and Aspy, C. (2013) Youth gender differences in alcohol use: A prospective study of multiple youth assets and the neighborhood environment. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3, 219-228. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2013.32030.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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