Present orientation, future orientation and alcohol use in Northern Irish adolescents

Authors: McKay, Michael T.1; Percy, Andrew2; Cole, Jon C.1

Source: Addiction Research and Theory, Volume 21, Number 1, February 2013 , pp. 43-51(9)

Publisher: Informa Healthcare

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Earlier initiation into more problematic drinking behaviour has been found to be associated with more problematic drinking later in life. Research has suggested that a lower future time perspective (and higher present time perspective) is associated with health-compromising behaviours such as problematic alcohol use in college student, University undergraduate and general population samples. This study used a cross-sectional design to examine whether consideration of future consequences (CFC), assessed by the Consideration of Future Consequences Scale, was significantly related to drinking behaviour in a large sample (n = 707) of Northern Irish adolescents. Alcohol use was self-reported by means of a composite measure of drinking behaviour. Demographic data were also gathered. After controlling for year in school (proxy for age), sex and for clustering at school level, lower future orientation and higher present orientation were found to be significantly associated with more problematic self-reported drinking behaviour. These results extend recent findings of a significant relationship between a foreshortened future time perspective and more problematic self-reported drinking behaviour in a UK sample of University undergraduates, to a large UK sample of adolescents. Given the relationship between early-onset drinking and more problematic use in later life, health promotion interventions might explore using the CFC construct in targeting adolescent drinkers.

Keywords: Adolescent; alcohol; time perspective

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Applied Psychology, University of Liverpool, Eleanor Rathbone Building, Bedford Street South, Liverpool, L69 3BX, UK 2: 2School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen's University, Belfast, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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