Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents

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Journal of Adolescence Journal of Adolescence xx (2008) 1e21

Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents Laurent Be`gue a,*, Sebastian Roche´ b a

Psychology Department, University of Grenoble Pierre Mende`s-France and University Institute of France (IUF), 1251, Avenue Centrale, BP 47, 38040 Grenoble, France b Institute of Political Studies, PACTE (CNRS), University of Grenoble Pierre Mende`s-France 1251, Avenue Centrale, BP 47, 38040 Grenoble, France

Abstract Previous studies of the determinants of drunkenness among youth investigated the contribution of a limited range of variables measuring social control. For the first time in France, this study including 1295 participants aged 14e19 years aimed at assessing the relative contribution of a broad range of multidimensional variables relating to social control such as parental and school functioning, conventional and religious beliefs, and activity level, in a single model predicting self-reported drunkenness episodes. A logistic regression model based on a survey involving nearly 50 measures selected at the first step was conducted using a backward elimination procedure to identify the significant predictors of drunken experience controlling for age, gender and SES among a sample of French adolescents. We found a protective effect of attachment and commitment to institutions in drunkenness experience among youth. Previous findings on parental variables were confirmed with qualifications, whereas the effect of religion was limited. The negative role of sport practice and impulsivity was also emphasized for some participants. Ó 2008 The Association for Professionals in Services for Adolescents. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Alcohol use disorders; Adolescence; Social control theory

* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ33 415 4476106. E-mail address: [email protected] (L. Be`gue). 0140-1971/$30.00Ó2008TheAssociationforProfessionalsinServicesforAdolescents.PublishedbyElsevierLtd.Allrightsreserved. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001 Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


L. Be`gue, S. Roche´ / Journal of Adolescence xx (2008) 1e21

Introduction Alcohol lies at the very first rank among psychoactive substances used by youth in various Western nations (Dawson, Grant, Stintson, & Chou, 2004; Grunbaum et al., 2004; Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2005). According to recent international estimations, its use and related consequences among youth costs as much as $58 billion per year in the World (Levy, Stewart, & Wilbur, 1999, quoted by Swahn et al., 2005). Alcohol consumption, and especially drunkenness among youth has a number of harmful side effects, such as an increased risk of injury (Cherpitel, 1993), vulnerability to physical violence (Shepherd, Sutherland, & Newcombe, 2006), suicide (CDCP, 2004), aggression (Bachman & Peralta, 2002; Ford, 2005; Swahn, Simon, Hammig, & Guerrero, 2004; White, Loeber, Stouthamer-Loeber, & Farrington, 1999), drunk driving and fatal road accidents (Chou et al., 2006; Hingson, Heeren, Winter, & Wechsler, 2005; Nochaski & Stasiewicz, 2006), unprotected sexual intercourse (Cooper, 2002; Hingson et al., 2005; Newbury-Birch, White, & Kamali, 2000; Wechlser, Davenport, Dowdall, Moykens, & Castillo, 1994) and sexual victimization (Champion et al., 2004). Moreover, drunkenness at any given age represents a significant risk factor of later alcohol abuse. For example, Schulenberg, O’Malley, Bachman, Wadsworth, and Johnston (1996) showed that 60% of 18 year olds that they followed during 6 years showed continuity in binge drinking (see also Andersen, Due, Holstein, & Iversen, 2003; Bennett, Mc Crady, Johnson, & Pandina, 1999; Fergusson, Lynskey, & Horwood, 1994; Grant & Dawson, 1997; Grant, Stinson, & Harford, 2001; Guilamos-Ramos, Turrisi, Jaccard, & Wood, 2004; Hawkin, Catalano, & Miller, 1992; Muthen & Muthen, 2000; Shillington & Clapp, 2000; Wennberg, Bohmann, & Andersson, 2000). Predictors of alcohol use among youths such as neurophysiological, genetic and personality factors, as well as a broad range of psychosocial ones, have been widely explored (Bucholz, 1990; Hawkin et al., 1992; Jessor, 1991; Jung, 2001; Sher, Grekin, & Williams, 2005). The purpose of the present study was to identify the quantitative contribution of a set of variables, most of which are traditionally associated with social control theory (Hirschi, 2001), among a regionally representative sample of youth. In that country, there are currently no published empirical multivariate investigations enabling the concurrent analysis of a wide spectrum of social control variables according to their contribution to drunkenness. Our first aim was therefore (1) to identify among a wide range of indicators the correlates of drunkenness using a regionally representative sample of 14e19-year-old youths, with a special focus on variables measuring social control and (2) to offer, through a logistic regression model, a presentation of the significant predictors of drunkenness in this population. Social control theory and measurement: an overview Social control theory is grounded in the approach developed by the sociologist Emile Durkheim, who argued that people conform to societal norms only to the extent that they are restrained by their various attachments (see, for example, his sociology of suicide, Durkheim, 1951). According to this view, individuals will conform to conventional norms to the extent that they are attached to others who accept the legitimacy of these norms, and conversely, people will deviate from the norms to the extent they lack this kind of attachment (Hirschi, 2001; Stark & Bainbridge, 1996: 5). According to social control theory, social order is based on conventional Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001

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moral beliefs and values that are internalized and upheld by society at large. A conventional belief in societal laws and norms is assumed to be the primary motivational factor that regulates deviant behavior (Benda, 1997) although many competing factors have been unveiled by criminologists (self-control, life style and opportunities, rational calculation etc.). Three others components of control are also underlined in social control theory (Hirschi, 2001). Attachment describes the psychological and emotional connection one feels toward other persons or groups and the extent to which one cares about their opinions and feeling, Commitment refers to the investment accumulated in terms of conformity to conventional rules. Lastly, involvement refers to participation in conventional and legitimate activity. Among youths, the main sources of social control are family, school, legal and moral attitudes, and religion which should be negatively related to drunkenness. The relevance of these four sources of social control in the prediction of youth drunkenness is briefly reviewed in the following paragraphs. Parental influences on drinking Family structure Previous studies have widely underlined the contribution of family factors on teenage drinking. According to the 1995 NHSDA survey (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1997), adolescents from one-parent or stepparent families are at higher risk for alcohol problems because of the stress induced by parental conflict, lower income or other sociodemographic correlates. Parental marital status has consistently been found across white and African American families to predict adolescent alcohol consumption, with youth from single-parent families showing more alcohol use than youth from two-parents families (Duncan, Duncan, & Hops, 1998; Duncan, Duncan, & Strycker, 2006; Ledoux, Miller, Choquet, & Plant, 2002; Parker, Weaver, & Calhoun, 1995; Peretti-Watel, Beck, & Legleye, 2006; see however O’Malley, Johnston, & Bachman, 1998, for an inconsistent association between family structure and drinking status). As shown by Barnes, Hoffman, Welte, Farrell, and Dintcheff (2006), on the basis of classical family theory and decades of empirical research (e.g. Barnes & Farrell, 1992; Farrell & Barnes, 2000), two additional key constructs, parental monitoring and support, have been found to be critically important in the family socialization/parenting processes. Parental monitoring Parental monitoring is defined as the extent to which parents attempt to attend to, track, or control their children’s activities and whereabouts (Kerr & Stattin, 2000). This family variable is among the most persistent variable involved in delinquency: children whose parents exercise control on their activities and their interpersonal relations commit less serious and less frequent delinquent acts than others (Crouter et al., 1990; Dishion et al., 1991; Dishion & Mc Mahon, 1998; Elliott, 1994; Hirschi, 1969; Jang & Smith, 1997; Rankin & Wells, 1990; Rutter, Giller, & Hagell, 1998; Sampson & Laub, 1993). Regarding adolescents’ drinking behavior, parental monitoring is negatively associated with alcohol consumption in cross-sectional (Barnes & Farrell, 1992; Borawski, Ievers-Landis, Lovegreen, & Trapl, 2003; Fletcher, Darling, & Steinberg, 1995) and longitudinal studies (Duncan, Duncan, Biglan, & Ary, 1998; Peterson, Hawkins, Abbott, & Catalano, 1994; Reifman, Barnes, Dintcheff, Farrell, & Uhteg, 1998; Van der Vorst, Engels, Meeus, Dekovic, & Vermulst, 2006). Several research findings indicate that a prominent function Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


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of parental monitoring is protecting or buffering the teenager from the negative effects of association with deviant peers and thus reducing the risk of alcohol misuse (Barnes et al., 2006; Catalano, Kosterman, Hawkins, Newcomb, & Abbott, 1996; Fletcher et al., 1995; GuilamosRamos et al., 2004; Oxford, Harachi, Catalano, & Abbott, 2000; Patterson & Dishion, 1985; Wood, Read, Mitchell, & Brand, 2004). Parental nurturance The other central variable in assessing family processes is parental closeness/warmth, which is also inversely related to problem behavior. Brook et al. (1992) found that a low maternal attachment predicted movement from low to moderate levels of alcohol use. Positive family relationships e involvement and attachment e are generally inversely related to alcohol use (Anderson & Henry, 1994; Barnes, Reifman, Farrell, & Dintcheff, 2000; Hundleby & Mercer, 1987; Kandel & Andrews, 1987; Steinberg, Lamborn, Dornbusch, & Darling, 1992). School functioning A majority of studies analyzing the relationship between school functioning and drunkenness among youth show that adolescents with low school performances, low school expectations, and school misconduct incidents have a higher level of drinking and higher incidence of drunken episodes (Bachman, Johnston, & O’Malley, 1981; Barnes & Welte, 1986; Boyle & Offord, 1986; Broks et al., 1986; Fors & Rojek, 1983; Herrenkohl et al., 2000; Lall & Schandler, 1991; Maney, 1990; Musgrave-Marquart, Bromley, & Dalley, 1997; Peretti-Watel et al., 2006; Rhoades & Maggs, 2006; White, Johnson, & Horwitz, 1986). Legal and moral beliefs Another component of problem behavior symptomatology that is related to social control theory is holding negative perceptions and beliefs toward legal and moral authorities (Hirschi, 2001). Opposition toward institutions such as the police or the justice system is a factor frequently involved in deviant conduct (see, for example, Be`gue, 2001; Emler & Reicher, 1995; see also Sykes & Matza, 1957, regarding techniques of neutralization). Conversely, believing in a just world, according to which people generally get what they deserve (Lerner & Miller, 1978; see Furnham, 2003 and Hafer & Be`gue, 2005, for recent reviews) constitutes a fundamental attitudinal orientation involved in the moderation of negative mood and antisocial behavior (Be`gue & Muller, 2006; Hafer, 2001). Religious variables In social control theory, religious institutions are hypothesized to transmit normative beliefs and foster individual attachment, commitment and involvement with the larger society (Marcos, Bahr, & Johnson, 1986). Religion may regulate the behavior of youths through internal (moral beliefs) as well as external mechanisms, through the provision of a social network (peers and adults) that is bonded by an acceptance of and commitment to moral values and social norms (Burkett, 1993; Wright, Caspi, Moffitt, & Silva, 1999). Interactions with a religious social network Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001

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may function as a means of social control inhibiting problematic behavior such as drunkenness. Finally, individuals strongly identified as religious are more likely to experience shame from deviant acts, and individuals saliently involved in religion-based social networks are more likely to experience embarrassment from deviant acts (Gramsmick et al., 1991). In a recent systematic review of 40 studies, Johnson et al. observed that religion was negatively related to delinquent behavior in 81% of the studies, and in 100% of the methodologically rigorous studies (see also Baier & Wright, 2001). Studies targeting drinking behavior indicate that religious involvement and alcohol drinking are generally inversely related (Bachman et al., 1981; Burkett & White, 1974; Cochran, Wood, & Arneklev, 1994; Donovan & Jessor, 1978; Mahoney et al., 2005; Newcomb, Maddahian, & Bentler, 1986; Sloane & Potvin, 1986; Stark & Bainbridge, 1996; Wallace & Forman, 1998; White et al., 1986). Thrill seeking Other complementary factors related to addictive behavior and alcohol abuse were investigated. Individual differences on dimensions such as impulsivity, physicality, and thrill seeking have received increased interest in criminology (Cochran et al., 1994; Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990; Raskin-White, Labouvie, & Bates, 1985; Wilson & Hernstein, 1985). Following the studies showing a relationship between sensation seeking or impulsivity and substance abuse (Bates & Labouvie, 1995; Caspi et al., 1997; Hawkin et al., 1992; Hittner & Swickert, 2006; Mayer, 1988; Kuntsche, Knibbe, Gmel, & Engels, 2006; Schukit, 1998; Zucker, Fitzgerald, & Moses, 1995; Zuckerman, 2001), we measured participants’ interest in risky behaviors and sports as well as self-reported impulsivity. We also assessed involvement in sports, which is also associated with alcohol use in several studies (Arvers & Choquet, 2003; Eccles & Barber, 1999; Mc Hale et al., 2005; Peretti-Watel, Beck, & Legleye, 2002a, 2002b; Peretti-Watel et al., 2006; see also Fredericks & Eccles, 2006).

Method Participants The sample was composed of 1295 participants aged 14e19 years living in or around the French mid-size city of Grenoble, and who were selected through stratified random sampling. A total of 50 schools were selected. Details regarding the survey methodology are described elsewhere (Roche´, Be`gue, & Astor, 2004). We did not exclude participants reaching the legal age for drinking in France (18 years) because previous studies indicated that drunkenness is not significantly influenced by majority age in France (Beck, Peretti-Watel, & Choquet, 2000). Participants were individually met at school and filled out the questionnaire in the presence of an interviewer with the consent of their parents, who were informed 2 weeks before the beginning of the study. The participation rate was 97%. Depending on their answers to selected questions concerning delinquency or victimization (not presented here), participants were given appropriate information about relevant public social service that was eventually needed. Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


L. Be`gue, S. Roche´ / Journal of Adolescence xx (2008) 1e21

Measures Demographic factors Sociodemographic factors have been shown to be strong predictors of adolescent substance use (Elliott, Huizinga, & Ageton, 1985; Johnston et al., 2005). We included gender, age, and socioeconomic status based on father’s profession. Sex was coded Male ¼ 1 (48.3%), Female ¼ 2 (51.7%). Age was grouped into three categories as follows: (1) 14e15 years (41.6%), (2) 16e17 years (38.5%), (3) 18e20 years (19.8%). Socioeconomic status (SES) of the participant’s father was distributed as follows: (1) employee and operatives (44.2%), (2) intermediary professions (27.4%), white collars and business owners (28.4%). Sociodemographic characteristics Family structure indicates whether or not the adolescents live with one or two parents. Two-parents family (77.1%) was coded 1; whereas single-parent family (23.9%) was coded 2. Sibship size (the number of brothers and sisters) was also evaluated because it is generally involved in deviant behavior, at least at the bivariate level (Be`gue & Roche´, 2005; Rutter et al., 1998; Sampson & Laub, 1993). In our sample, the sibship size was coded as follows: (1) no brother/sister (5.4%), (2) One brother/sister (36.5%), (3) two brothers/sisters (30.8%), (4) three brothers/sisters (13.9%), (5) four brothers/sisters (6.9%) (6) five or more brothers/ sisters (6.9%). We also evaluated the quality of living environment, following studies showing that children who grow up in disorganized neighborhoods with high physical deterioration may face greater risk for a range of behavioral problems (Fagan, 1988). Disorders in the neighborhood can be understood as a proxy for the ecological pressure of incivilities on deviant behavior as proposed by the ‘‘broken window’’ theory (Wilson & Kelling, 1982). It could be hypothesized that the level of perceived disorders would send a signal to adolescents about the lack or decline of pro-social rules around their homes and therefore influence drunkenness. The index of quality of living environment was assessed by subject’s answers to two questions ‘‘in your neighborhood, are bus shelters, public phones, benches, trash bins, or playgrounds vandalized?,’’ ‘‘are there graffitis, tags, writings on the walls?’’ The responses were coded from 1 ¼ never to 4 ¼ very frequently. Statistics for this scale and the quantitative variables described below are summarized in Table 1. Note that means rather than totals were used in computing scale scores. Family functioning Parental monitoring was limited to a single-item measure ‘‘when you go out, do you tell your parents where you are going? 1 ¼ Never to 4 ¼ Very often (M ¼ 3.00, SD ¼ 0.89). Maternal nurturance consisted in a two-item scale ‘‘on the whole, how much do you get along with your mother?’’ (options ranged from 1 ¼ not well at all to 4 ¼ very well) and ‘‘Does your mother compliment you when you do something good?’’ (options ranged from 1 ¼ never to 4 ¼ very often). Paternal nurturance also was a two-items scales ‘‘on the whole, how much do you get along with your father?’’ (response options ranged from 1 ¼ not well at all to 4 ¼ very well) Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


L. Be`gue, S. Roche´ / Journal of Adolescence xx (2008) 1e21 Table 1 Description of the quantitative variables Variable

# Items




Quality of living environment Parental monitoring Maternal nurturance Paternal nurturance Schoolwork School delay Positive orientation toward school Self-evaluation at school Trouble at school School aspiration Support for legal authority Just world beliefs Moral judgment Activation level Thrill and adventure seek Religious attendance Religious salience

2 1 2 2 1 1 1

0.75 e 0.58 0.67 e e e

2.50 3.00 3.17 2.94 3.27 1.54 2.93

0.86 0.89 0.63 0.73 1.16 0.67 0.63

1 7 1 3 2 9 3 5 1 1

e 0.64 e 0.81 0.51 0.76 0.40 0.58 e e

3.26 1.35 2.76 2.70 2.96 3.05 2.22 1.66 1.75 1.75

0.60 0.30 1.06 0.59 0.63 0.37 0.63 0.42 0.91 0.92

and ‘‘Does your father compliment you when you do something good?’’ (response options ranged from 1 ¼ never to 4 ¼ very often). School functioning Time devoted to schoolwork was measured by the question: ‘‘how much time do you spend daily doing your homework?’’ and coded as follows: (1) no time; (2) less than 15 min per day; (3) between 15 and 30 min per day; (4) between 30 min and 1 h per day; (5) between 1 and 2 h per day; or (6) more than 2 h. We measured School delay by means of the item ‘‘Have you ever repeated a grade?’’ with the following response options: (1) No; (2) Yes, once; (3) Yes, twice; and (4) Yes, more than twice. Positive orientation toward school was measured by a single item: ‘‘Are you interested in what you learn at school?’’ (from 1 ¼ not at all to 4 ¼ much). Self-evaluation of academic ability was measured with the single item ‘‘Do you consider that you are 1 ¼ a very bad pupil to 5 ¼ a very good pupil.’’ Trouble at school was measured by seven questions concerning the occurrence of several school sanctions in the preceding 2 years with three answer levels (1) No, never, (2) Yes, once (3) Yes, several times. The sanctions were the following: receiving a detention, an oral warning, a written warning, a course eviction, a school eviction from 1 to 8 days, a school eviction of more than 8 days. School aspiration was measured by the item ‘‘If you could keep on attending school as far as you wished, how long would you like to attend?’’ and was coded as follows: (1) stop at the baccalaureat1 or before, (2) stop 1 or 2 years after baccalaureat, (3) stop 3 or 4 years after baccalaureat and (4) higher level diplomas. 1

Baccalaureat is a school-leaving examination leading to university entrance qualification in the French school system. Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


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Conventional beliefs In order to evaluate Support for legal authority, subjects were asked if they had a 1 ¼ very bad, 2 ¼ rather bad, 3 ¼ rather good or 4 ¼ very good perception of the police, the justice system, and police force. Just world beliefs were measured by two items (I feel that the world treats me fairly; I feel that I get what I deserve) from the French version of the Lipkus, Dalbert, and Siegler (1996) Scale by Be`gue and Bastounis (2003) and coded 1 ¼ totally disagree to 4 ¼ totally agree. Moral judgment was based on the judgment of seriousness of nine behaviors (physical aggression, shoplifting, threatening someone with a weapon, burning a car, racketeering, taking a bus without paying, burglary, and urban speeding). Activation level and sensation seeking Selected items were adapted from Cochran (1995) with the response format 1 ¼ totally disagree to 4 ¼ totally agree: ‘‘I often act on the spur of the moment, without stopping to think’’, ‘‘I like living at a quick pace’’, ‘‘I find it exciting to do things that could cause me trouble’’. We also included items adapted from Zuckerman’s (1979) Thrill and Adventure Seeking (TAS) subscale related to extreme sport activities, such as deep sea diving, parachuting, handgliding, paragliding, and bungee jumping, with the following response format (1) No, I’m not attracted to it, (2) Yes, I would enjoy it, or (3) I already practice it. We also assessed sporting activity outside of school, which also predicts alcohol use; the codes were (1) no sporting activity outside the school (33.7%), (2) sporting activity outside the school (66.3%). Religious dimensions Although it would have been optimal to construct measures of religiosity which systematically cover every religiosity dimension (Stark & Glock, 1968) or motivational aspects of religious commitment (Batson, Ventis, & Schoenrade, 1993), for practical reasons our measures consisted of three single-items measures: religious affiliation, religious participation and religious salience. Religious affiliation was measured by the question ‘‘do you have a religion?’’ 1 ¼ yes (44.4%), 2 ¼ No (55.6%). Religious attendance was measured by asking respondents to report the frequency with which they attended religious services, from 1 ¼ never to 6 ¼ every day. Salience was measured by a four-point ordinal scale which asked how important religion was in their everyday life, from 1 ¼ not important to 4 ¼ very important. Self-reported drunkenness experience We measured the dependent variable through the question ‘‘In the last year, how often have you been drunk?’’ Because of its skewed distribution, this variable was dichotomized with the following cut-off point at never versus/once or several time, following Farrington and Loeber’s (1995) recommendations. Adolescents experiencing drunken experience were coded 1, whereas those who didn’t experience drunkenness were coded 0. Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001

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Analytic procedure We followed the analytic procedure used by Swahn and Donovan (2005, 2006a, 2006b) and Swahn and Donovan (2004). Before initiating analysis, all of our 48 items grouped into 23 distinct variables were organized into six loosely defined domains which were described earlier. The primary purpose of these domains was to create groupings of variables that would facilitate building an empirically driven model of statistically significant predictors of youth drunkenness. The investigation relied on an empirically based backward elimination strategy to identify a statistical model in which all predictors were significantly associated with the outcome. This strategy was used primarily to reduce the number of variables by omitting unimportant variables prior to identifying a final multivariate model. This backward elimination strategy is useful because there is less risk of failing to find a relationship where one exists (Menard, 1995), and was justified by the fact that there was limited information about the multivariate predictors of drunkenness we selected. The backward elimination modelling strategy was applied in a three-step process. First, logistic regression analyses for the outcome measure were performed within each of the six variable domains while controlling for age, gender and SES. These analyses determined which of the variables within each should be included in the final multivariate model. The purpose of entering all variables within each domain simultaneously was to reduce the number of models computed, to identify variables not statistically important. All variables with a P-value (Wald c2) greater than 0.15 were excluded from further analysis. Variables not meeting the P ¼ 0.05 criterion (0.15 > P > 0.05) were retained because use of the 0.05 criterion may not identify all variables which may turn out to be important in the multivariate model. Second, all variables from all six domains that met the criterion in Step 1 were entered simultaneously in a multivariate model while controlling for age, gender and socioeconomic level. All variables with a P-value greater that 0.05 were removed from the model, one at a time, until the model contained only significant variables. Third, interaction analyses were computed to determine if the significant predictor variables identified in the final model were moderated by gender, age or SES. The purpose of the interaction analyses was to assess whether or not the impact of the predictors was consistent across demographic subgroups. Interactions terms with age, gender and SES were computed one at a time with each variable that displayed a significant main effect. All interaction terms with a Wald F P-value below 0.10 were included in the multivariate model identified in Step 2. Interaction terms that were not significant at P < 0.05 were removed one at a time until the model contained only significant interaction terms. Stratified analyses were computed for each variable that was moderated by a demographic characteristic. These stratified analyses included all variables in the full model but did not include any interaction terms.

Results Bivariate results Bivariate analyses were performed on the 23 variables before Step 1. In our sample, 29% answered that they had been drunk in the last year. This was the case for 38% of the males and 21% of the females (c2 corrected ¼ 40.52, P < 0.000), which is consistent with the existing Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


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literature (e.g. Yeh, Chiang, & Huang, 2006). A significant association with age was also observed: 13% among 14e15 year olds had been drunk in the last year, 35% among 16e17 year olds and 52% among 18e19 year olds (c2 ¼ 133.28, P < 0.000). Regarding self-reported drunkenness, results crossing gender and age were very close to previous results observed in national samples in France (e.g. Beck et al., 2000). Tables 2 and 3 show all the other bivariate analysis. Multivariate analysis Main effects Based on the initial analyses of the predictors of drunken experience, 17 of the 20 variables examined were included in the multivariate model building step. These 17 predictors were marital situation, sibship size, quality of environment, parental monitoring, maternal support, paternal support, time devoted to homework, school delay, positive orientation toward school, school self-evaluation, trouble at school, school aspiration, opposition to authority, moral judgment, impulsivity, sport activity, having a religion, and religious salience. Eleven of these 17 variables remained significant predictors of the drunken episode after the backward elimination strategy was completed (Table 1). Possible concerns about multicollinearity were addressed by checking the conditional index (CI, lower than 10), and by controlling for gender, age and SES before multiple logistic regression was applied. The significant predictors were low parental monitoring (OR ¼ 0.83; 95% CI:0.70e0.98), low paternal bond (OR ¼ 0.77; 95% CI:0.62e0.95), low maternal bond (OR ¼ 0.76; 95% CI:0.59e0.97), little time spent at homework (OR ¼ 1.20; 95% CI:1.04e1.38), school delay (OR ¼ 0.72; 95% CI:0.55e0.93),2 negative perception of school (OR ¼ 1.22; 95% CI:1.05e1.43), trouble at school (OR ¼ 1.99; 95% CI:1.26e3.16), support of authority (OR ¼ 0 0.54; 95%CI:1.05e1.43), impulsivity (OR ¼ 1.35; 95% CI:1.06e1.70), involvement in sport activity (OR ¼ 1.57; 95% CI:1.12e2.20), and low religious saliency (OR ¼ 0.61; 95% CI:0.50e0.75), all of which increased the risk for drunken episode, even after adjusting for gender, age and SES. Interaction analysis The preliminary interaction analysis of the significant predictors of drunken episodes with gender, age, and SES indicated that six different interaction terms should be included in the multivariate model building step. The first significant interaction term indicated that the effect of parental monitoring was marginally significant among males (OR ¼ 0.81; 95% CI: 0.64e1.02) and non-significant among females (OR ¼ 0.81; 95% CI 0.62e1.06). School deviance was also moderated by gender: its statistical effect on drunken experience was robust among females (OR ¼ 3.13; 95% CI: 1.42e6.93) but non-significant among males (OR ¼ 1.59; 95% CI 0.88e 2.87). Finally, low educational aspiration predicted drunken experience among females (OR ¼ 1.42; 95% CI: 1.09e1.85) but not among males (OR ¼ 1.04; 95% CI: 0.84e1.29). Socioeconomic status moderated the effect of time spent in homework of drunkenness. The time spent doing homework was not significantly related to drunkenness in the children of 2

This effect was however reversed when subject’s age was not controlled (OR ¼ 1.30; 95% CI: 1.04e1.62).

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L. Be`gue, S. Roche´ / Journal of Adolescence xx (2008) 1e21 Table 2 Bivariate analysis: qualitative data Percentage of participants drunk in the 12 past months

Statistical test and value (c2 corrected)

Gender Males Females

38 21


Age 14e15 years 16e17 years 18e19 years

13 35 52


Fathers’ profession Employee/operative Intermediary profession White collar/business owners

25 33 33


Family structure Single parent Two parents

32 29

Sport Extra-curricular sport No extra-curricular sport

33 22


Religion Religion No religion

22 35



*P < 0.05; **P < 0.01; ***P < 0.001.

employees and operatives (OR ¼ 1.16; 95% CI: 0.94e1.43) or intermediary professions (OR ¼ 1.05; 95% CI: 0.61e1.81). However, it was related to drunken behavior among those of intellectual professions (OR ¼ 0.57; 95% CI: 0.33e1.00). Impulsivity was also moderated by SES. Whereas among the sons and daughters of employees/operatives and intellectual professions, impulsivity was unrelated to drunkenness (OR ¼ 0.96; 95% CI: 0.67e1.38 and OR ¼ 1.33; 95% CI: 0.85e2.09, respectively), it positively predicted drunken experience among intermediary professions (OR ¼ 2.25; 95% CI: 1.32e3.84). Finally, stratified analyses showed that age moderated the effect of having a religious denomination on drunkenness. Among 14e15 year olds, a protective effect of religion was observed (OR ¼ 1.98; 95% CI: 0.95e4.11); however, denomination was unrelated to drunkenness among 16e17 year olds (OR ¼ 1.31; 95% CI: 0.77e2.22) and 18e19 year olds (OR ¼ 0.92; 95% CI: 0.44e2.06). The determination coefficient (Nagelkerke R2, see Nagelkerke, 1991) of the overall model was 0.38 (Table 4). Discussion The purpose of this study was to identify empirically the contribution of a broad range of social control variables in a sample of French youth. The specific contribution of this research was to evaluate the relationship between adolescents’ drunken experience and their bonds to the main Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


L. Be`gue, S. Roche´ / Journal of Adolescence xx (2008) 1e21

Table 3 Bivariate analysis: quantitative variables Drunk Quality of environment index Sibship size Parental monitoring Positive Relationship mother Positive Relationship father Time doing homework School delay Neg. orient. toward school Self-evaluation as student Trouble at school School aspiration Support for authority Moral judgment Just world beliefs Impulsivity Interest for extreme sports Religious attendance Religious salience


t value





2.54 1.85 2.98 3.01 2.78 3.12 1.62 5.01

0.85 1.18 0.90 0.60 0.74 1.11 0.66 0.99

2.41 2.06 3.33 3.23 3.01 3.64 1.51 4.72

0.87 1.30 0.86 0.65 0.72 1.20 0.67 0.98

2.47** 2.72** 6.5*** 5.84*** 5.000*** 7.47*** 2.70** 4.71***

2.99 1.46 2.80 2.47 2.95 2.98 2.38 1.70 1.63 1.62

0.49 0.38 1.04 0.60 0.38 0.63 0.64 0.39 0.71 0.76

3.13 1.30 2.72 2.80 3.09 2.92 2.15 1.65 1.80 1.99

0.49 0.33 1.07 0.56 0.38 0.62 0.61 0.43 0.95 0.95

4.73*** 7.43*** 1.20, ns 9.25*** 5.96*** 1.65þ 5.89*** 2.06* 3.35*** 7.41***

*P < 0.05; **P < 0.01; ***P < 0.001.

conventional sources of authorities they usually meet. We found that relationships with parents and institutions (school, police, and in less extent, religion) were critical in drunken behavior among youth. The role of practising sport was also confirmed. The full multivariate model with interaction terms indicated that the probability of having experienced drunkenness in the last year was increased by (1) low parental monitoring (among males only), (2) a low nurturing relationship with one’s mother, (3) being held back at school, (4) having a negative perception of school, (5) devoting less time to schoolwork (for intellectual professions only), (6) having trouble at school (for females only), (7) school having low aspirations (for females only), (8) having low support for authority, (9) being impulsive (among intermediary professions only), (10) practising sport, and (11) not having a denomination (for 14e15 years only). Variables unrelated to drunken experience in the full multivariate level including interactions were parents’ marital situation, sibship size, quality of living environment, father’s nurturance, school self-evaluation, moral judgment, just world beliefs for self, thrill and adventure seeking, and religious attendance and salience. The predictors of alcohol use in this study are partially consistent with those found to be important predictors of drunkenness in western studies mentioned in the theoretical section of this paper. For example, international surveys such as MTF (Monitoring the future, Johnson et al., 2005), European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drug (ESPAD, Hibell et al., 2001) or Health Behavior in School Aged Children (HBSC, Godeau, Grandjean, & Navarro, 2002) show that parental and school factors are important correlates of drunkenness. International studies also suggest that sport practice does not prevent youth drunkenness but is instead positively linked with it. However, in our study, many factors showing a bivariate Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


L. Be`gue, S. Roche´ / Journal of Adolescence xx (2008) 1e21 Table 4 Multivariate logistic regression model predicting drunken episode in the last year (n ¼ 1292) Measures

Model without interaction terms B

Gender Age SES Monit Fa-Nur Mo-Nur Scho-Ti Scho-Del Scho-Neg Scho-dev Auth-Pos Impul Sport Rel-Sali Monit  Gender Scho-dev  Gender Scho-asp  Gender Scho-Ti  SES Impul  SES Rel  Age 2 Log likehood

0.37* 1.21*** 0.22* 0.18* 0.25* 0.27* 0.18** 0.32* 0.20** 0.69** 0.61*** 0.30* 0.45** 0.48***


Model with interaction terms ORadj

(95% CI)

0.68 3.38 1.24 0.83 0.77 0.76 1.20 0.72 1.22 1.99 0.54 1.35 1.57 0.61

(0.49e0.95) (2.70e4.22) (1.03e1.50) (0.70e0.98) (0.62e0.95) (0.59e0.97) (1.04e1.38) (0.55e0.93) (1.05e1.43) (1.26e3.16) (1.05e1.43) (1.06e1.70) (1.12e2.20) (0.50e0.75)



(95% CI)

0.99** 1.60*** 0.48* 0.17*

0.37 5.26 0.61 0.84

(0.19e0.72) (3.93e7.02) (0.42e0.89) (0.71e0.99)




0.32* 0.21**

0.72 1.23

(0.55e0.94) (1.05e1.44)







0.17** 0.56*** 0.12* 0.10** 0.16** 0.23*** 1156.70

0.83 1.76 1.13 1.10 1.17 0.78

(0.73e0.95) (1.28e2.42) (1.01e1.25) (1.03e1.18) (1.04e1.31) (0.71e0.86)

*P < 0.05; **P < 0.01; ***P < 0.001. Monit: Parental monitoring; Fa-Nur: Father’s nurturance; Mo-Nur: mothers’ nurturance; Scho-Ti: Time devoted to school homework; Scho-Del: School delay; Scho-Neg: Negative perception of school; Scho-dev: School deviance; Auth-Pos: Positive perception of authorities; Impul: Impulsivity; Sport: Sport practice; Rel-Sal: Religious salience; Scho-asp: School aspiration; Reli: Having a religious denomination.

relationship with drunkenness had non-significant or interactive relationship with self-reported drunkenness in the final multivariate model. Indeed 8 out of 10 variables that were significant at the bivariate level became non-significant: sibship size, quality of living environment, father’s nurturance, school self-evaluation, moral judgment, just world beliefs, thrill and adventure seeking, religious attendance and religious salience. Moreover, among the 10 significant predictors in the final model, 3 varied according to participant’s gender (parental monitoring, trouble at school, school aspirations), 2 varied according to SES (time devoted to schoolwork and impulsivity) and 1 varied according to participant’s age (having a religion). One of the strengths of this study is the incorporation of a range of variables covering various domains of social control. This inclusion provide a rather complex view or the correlates of adolescents drunkenness that is not easy to compare with studies involving less factors or more focused on a subtype of factors. Regarding parental variables, unlike other studies in European countries and North America (Bjarnason et al., 2003; Duncan et al., 1998; Duncan et al., 2006; Ledoux et al., 2002; Parker et al., 1995; Peretti-Watel et al., 2006), we did not observe a link between family structure and drunkenness (see however O’Malley et al., 1998, for a discussion of inconsistencies in the Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


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association between family structure and drinking status). Parental monitoring was confirmed among males but not among females, which may be explained by a higher parental monitoring among females, as many studies indicate (see, for example, Be`gue & Roche´, 2005). Moreover, maternal nurturance was negatively linked to drunkenness as in many studies (e.g. Steinberg et al., 1992). Lastly, school factors appeared as the most consistent correlates of drunkenness: five out of six variables predicted drunkenness significantly. This result confirms previous results observed among North American or European samples (Bachman et al., 1981; Barnes & Welte, 1986; Boyle & Offord, 1986; Broks et al., 1986; Fors & Rojek, 1983; Herrenkohl et al., 2000; Lall & Schandler, 1991; Maney, 1990; Musgrave-Marquart et al., 1997; Peretti-Watel et al., 2006; Rhoades & Maggs, 2006; White et al., 1986). The fact that having trouble at school and low educational aspiration predicts drunkenness for females but not males is interesting and may suggest that such experiences are normative for males but not females. Several limitations should however be noted. First, adolescent drinking may be considered as heterogeneous behavior that involves both some groups who are experimenting and some groups who are regularly drinking. With the normalisation of experimentation the correlates may be different. In the present investigation, we choose to dichotomize the outcome variable because the sample wasn’t large enough to consider a more differentiated analysis. Moreover, as underlined by Swahn and Donovan (2005) and Farrington and Loeber (2000), while dichotomizing variables may result in loss of information, there are many important benefits of dichotomization. The main advantage of using dichotomized variables are that it simplifies the presentation of results, it facilitates the examination of interaction effects, it enables the quantification of risk by using a risk factor approach, and it also provides an appropriate method to handle variable that are not normally distributed, which was clearly the case in the current investigation. Second, we assessed parental variables such as monitoring or nurturance through the children’s evaluation. This methodology is not without limitation, especially given the weak overlap between parents and children’s evaluation of parental behavior (see Harris, 1998; Stattin & Kerr, 2000). Third, the dependent variable was also self-reported. Even if research on validity of self-report data has concluded that young people are sincere about sensitive matters when appropriate precautions are taken (e.g. Winters, Stinchfield, Henly, & Schwartz, 1990), we have no estimate of the possible bias in under or overreporting drunken experience. Fourth, our survey may have missed those at greatest risk for exhibiting behavioral problems, because of truancy (Cernkovich, Giordano, & Pugh, 1985; Fors & Rojek, 1991; O’Malley et al., 1998). However efforts were made to obtain a representative sample. In particular, interviewers were flexible when scheduling the interviews to increase the representativeness of students and accommodate students who may have otherwise been missed due to truancy or for other reasons. Fifth, for practical reasons linked to the length of the questionnaire, relevant factors related to drunkenness were not included such as attitudes and drinking habits of parents (Rose, 1998; Taylor, Conard, O’Byrne, Haddock, & Poston, 2004) or peers (Averna & Hesselbrock, 2001; Cardenal & Adell, 2000). Sixth, the usual critiques aimed at cross-sectional surveys apply: issues of causality remains to be assessed. Longitudinal studies indicate that alcohol consumption is both the consequence and the cause of alterations of social bond. In our empirical driven study, we did not gather relevant data for causality testing. For example, problem behavior might be driven by the behavioral traits of the child, which elicits negative or less efficient parenting (Reitz, Dekovic, Meijer, & Engels, 2006; Van der Vorst et al., 2006). Reciprocal effects between parental and adolescent variables are clearly observed in the development of adolescent alcohol use (Stice & Barrera, Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001

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1995). Seventh, regarding sport activity, we did not distinguish between formal and informal practice, which provide distinct occasions and motives for drinking alcohol (Peretti-Watel et al., 2002a, 2002b). Eighth, the proportion of adolescents in France reporting having been drunk during the previous 12 months is substantially smaller than the average according to the 2003 ESPAD report. Regarding alcohol consumption, important variations within Europe are currently observed. Four drinking patterns can be drawn, crossing occasional or frequent consumption and little or repeated intoxication. According to ESPAD Survey, French adolescents are among those with frequent consumption but little intoxication. The relevance of social control predictors we observed should therefore be confirmed in European countries with other drinking patterns. Lastly, our investigation relied on a purely empirical assessment of the association between selected factors and drunkenness. Although prior theoretical or empirical support was established for the variables included in the study, the findings were derived by the empirical analyses without theoretical investigations. Information from such investigation can be used to guide future research as well as the development of theoretical and explanatory models (see Swahn & Donovan, 2005). Despite its limitations, this study indicates that drunken behavior among youths can be fairly well predicted by measures pertaining to social control theory. Having an adolescent drunken experience may be interpreted as the behavioral expression of a distance from parental, school and legal authorities, and may be related to sport practice. Among some youths (among intermediary professions), impulsivity may increase drunkenness, whereas among some others (14e15 year olds) having a religion (but not religious practice or salience) may prevent it. We believe that the interactive effects of age, gender and SES with predictor variables deserve further attention. As for other behavioral problems such as aggressive behavior (Campbell, 1993), the function of drunken behavior may vary according to gender, SES and age, as suggested by research on alcohol expectancies (Leigh & Stacy, 2004). Identifying the explicit and implicit meanings related to drunken experience among theses categories of subjects may provide a key for understanding the observed interactive effects. Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that is prized among young people and plays an important role in the etiology of important adverse effects on their health. Our results suggest that drunkenness among youth is significantly related to various social control variables among which many are known as predictors of a wide specter of other problem behavior (Donovan, Jessor, & Costa, 1988; Rutter & Smith, 1995). Consistent with Hirschi’s (2001) social control theory, attachment and commitment are negatively associated with drunkenness. However, regarding the other dimensions (beliefs and involvement), the results are less consistent. Regarding beliefs, moral judgment and just world beliefs were not linked to drunkenness in the final model. Moreover, adolescents having a sporting activity outside school experienced more drunkenness than the others, which is not consistent with Hirschi’s theory, according to which involvement should be negatively related to deviant behavior. Further studies should focus on the processes inducing alcohol consumption among the adolescents involved in sport practice.

Acknowledgments This research was carried out with the financial support of the French Ministry of Public Transportation and the Ministry of Justice. We also wish to thank the thoughtful comments received from the journal’s anonymous reviewers and the editor. Please cite this article in press as: Be`gue, L., Roche´, S., Multidimensional social control variables as predictors of drunkenness among French adolescents, (2008), doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.001


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