Age at first birth and alcohol use

Academic Article


  • Two theoretical perspectives, role incompatibility and stress proliferation, suggest that age at first birth is associated with alcohol use, but each theory offers distinct predictions about the effect of relatively early parenthood on alcohol use. This study examines the applicability of these perspectives using data spanning over twenty years (1982 to 2002) from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). Results from fixed effects and multilevel models indicate that people decrease binge drinking surrounding the transition into parenthood regardless of age at first birth. However, relatively young parents increase binge drinking as they age from early to later adulthood, while others decrease drinking. Findings support an integration of the two theoretical perspectives. Role incompatibility best describes the initial effect of parenthood, but predictions drawn from stress proliferation more accurately describe the association between early parenthood and binge drinking into later adulthood.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wolfe JD
  • Start Page

  • 395
  • End Page

  • 409
  • Volume

  • 50
  • Issue

  • 4