Implicit attitudes toward alcohol predict drinking among adults and adolescents. If implicit attitudes reflected associations learned through direct experience with drinking, then they would likely only predict drinking among individuals who have previously consumed alcohol. In contrast, if implicit attitudes reflected indirect experience through social messages, they might also then predict future drinking, even among individuals with no drinking experience. In this study, we tested whether implicit attitudes would predict initiation of drinking for the first time, and whether parents' and friends' norms toward alcohol would influence the development of implicit attitudes.
For this study, we followed 868 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 years for 3 years. Implicit attitudes were measured using the affect misattribution procedure (Payne, Cheng, Govorun, & Stewart, 2005; Payne, Govorun, & Arbuckle, 2008). Explicit intentions to drink and the frequency of drinking and binge drinking were measured at each of 3 annual waves.
Implicit attitudes toward alcohol predicted future drinking behavior 1 year later, and effects were similar for adolescents who had previously tried alcohol and for those who had not. To understand what factors might shape implicit attitudes among participants without drinking experience, we examined the role of parental norms and friends' norms toward drinking. Parental approval of drinking predicted the development of more positive implicit attitudes, which in turn predicted later drinking.
Implicit attitudes toward alcohol can develop in advance of direct experience drinking alcohol. Results have implications for the implicit processes underpinning adolescent drinking, and the processes by which implicit associations are learned.
- implicit attitudes
- implicit cognition
- addictive behavior
- peer influence
- AFFECT MISATTRIBUTION PROCEDURE
- ALCOHOL-RELATED COGNITIONS
- ASSOCIATION TEST
- RISK BEHAVIOR
- SUBSTANCE USE