The validity of a latent class typology of adolescent drinking patterns

Andrew Percy, Dorota Iwaniec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This study examined the validity of a latent class typology of adolescent drinking based on four alcohol dimensions; frequency of drinking, quantity consumed, frequency of binge drinking and the number of alcohol related problems encountered. Method: Data used were from the 1970 British Cohort Study sixteen-year-old follow-up. Partial or complete responses to the selected alcohol measures were provided by 6,516 cohort members. The data were collected via a series of postal questionnaires. Results: A five class LCA typology was constructed. Around 12% of the sample were classified as �hazardous drinkers� reporting frequent drinking, high levels of alcohol consumed, frequent binge drinking and multiple alcohol related problems. Multinomial logistic regression, with multiple imputation for missing data, was used to assess the covariates of adolescent drinking patterns. Hazardous drinking was associated with being white, being male, having heavy drinking parents (in particular fathers), smoking, illicit drug use, and minor and violent offending behaviour. Non-significant associations were found between drinking patterns and general mental health and attention deficient disorder. Conclusion: The latent class typology exhibited concurrent validity in terms of its ability to distinguish respondents across a number of alcohol and non-alcohol indicators. Notwithstanding a number of limitations, latent class analysis offers an alternative data reduction method for the construction of drinking typologies that addresses known weaknesses inherent in more tradition classification methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalIrish Journal of Psychological Medicine
Volume24 (1)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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