Predictors of tobacco and alcohol co-use from ages 15 to 32: The Amsterdam growth and health longitudinal study

Sterling M McPherson, Ekaterina Burduli, Crystal Lederhos Smith, Olivia Brooks, Michael F Orr, Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, Trynke Hoekstra, Michael G McDonell, Sean M Murphy, Matthew Layton, John M Roll

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Tobacco and alcohol are often used in tandem over time, but specific predictors of course and patterns of course over time need explication. We examined differences in alcohol and tobacco course among an adolescent population as they transitioned into young adulthood across a 17-year period. Data came from participants (n = 303 for ages 15-21, n = 196 for ages 21 to 32; 52% female and 54% female, respectively) enrolled in the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study, an epidemiologic investigation examining disease across the life span. We utilized parallel latent growth modeling to assess the impact of sex, personality traits, cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI), on initial status and linear change over time in course of tobacco and alcohol. Females reported less alcohol use at adolescent baseline (β = -21.79), less increase during adolescence (β = -7.92, p < .05), slower decrease during young adulthood (β = 4.67, p < .05), and more rapid decline in tobacco use during young adulthood (β = -70.85, p < .05), relative to males. Alcohol and tobacco use baseline status' and change over time were all significantly associated with one another during both adolescence and young adulthood (p < .05; aside from alcohol baseline and slope during young adulthood). Effects of BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure, and personality traits were also observed on tobacco and alcohol course. In light of the strong, but sex dependent relationship between alcohol and tobacco course, particularly from ages 15 to 21, prevention efforts to curb heavy alcohol and tobacco use should consider targeting course taking into account biological sex and other notable covariates. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-559
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number6
Early online date27 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


This project was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA, P30DA040500). The project was also supported by grants from the Department of Justice and the Life Science Discovery Fund. In addition, this project was supported by the Washington State University Spokane Seed Grant Program. These funding sources had no other role other than financial support. Sterling M. McPherson, Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, and John M. Roll have received research funding from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Sterling M. McPherson and Matthew Layton have received research funding from Ringful Health, LLC. Sterling M. McPherson has also received research funding from Orthopedic Specialty Institute, and consulted for Consistent Care company. This funding is in no way related to the investigation reported here.

FundersFunder number
Life Science Discovery Fund
Orthopedic Specialty Institute, and consulted for Consistent Care company
Ringful Health, LLC
National Institute on Drug AbuseP30DA040500
U.S. Department of Justice
Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
Washington State University


    • Adolescence
    • Alcohol
    • Course of alcohol and tobacco
    • Tobacco
    • Young adulthood


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