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Background: Alcohol-related blackouts (ARBs) are reported by ~50% of drinkers. While much is known about the prevalence of ARBs in young adults and their cross-sectional correlates, there are few prospective studies regarding their trajectories over time during mid-adolescence. This paper reports latent trajectory classes of ARBs between age 15 and 19, along with predictors of those patterns.
Methods: Latent class growth analysis (LCGA) was used to evaluate the pattern of occurrence of ARBs across 4 time points for 1,402 drinking adolescents from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Multinomial regression analyses evaluated age-15 demography, substance related items, externalizing characteristics, and estimated peer substance use as predictors of latent class membership.
Results: ARBs were reported at age 15 in 30% and at age 19 in 74% of these subjects. Four latent trajectory classes were identified: Class 1 (5.1%) reported no blackouts; for Class 2 (29.5%), ARBs rapidly increased with age; for Class 3 (44.9%), blackouts slowly increased; and for Class 4 (20.5%), ARBs were consistently reported. Using Class 2 (rapid increasers) as the reference, predictors of class membership included female sex, higher drinking quantities, smoking, externalizing characteristics, and estimated peer substance involvement (pseudo R2 =0.22).
Conclusions: ARBs were common and repetitive in these young subjects, and predictors of their trajectories over time involved multiple domains representing diverse characteristics.