Measuring alcohol use across the transition to adulthood: Racial/ethnic, sexual identity, and educational differences

Citation

Fish, Jessica N.; Pollitt, Amanda M.; Schulenberg, John E.; & Russell, Stephen T. (2018). Measuring alcohol use across the transition to adulthood: Racial/ethnic, sexual identity, and educational differences. Addictive Behaviors. vol. 77 (Supplement C) pp. 193-202

Abstract

Patterns of alcohol use change from adolescence to adulthood and may differ based on race/ethnicity, sexual identity, and education. If alcohol use measures do not operate consistently across groups and developmental periods, parameter estimates and conclusions may be biased. To test the measurement invariance of a multi-item alcohol use measure across groups defined by race/ethnicity, sexual identity, and college education during the transition to adulthood. Using three waves from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we tested configural, metric, and scalar invariance of a 3-item alcohol use measure for groups defined by race/ethnicity, sexual identity, and college education at three points during the transition to adulthood. We then assessed longitudinal measurement invariance to test the feasibility of modeling developmental changes in alcohol use within groups defined by these characteristics. Overall, findings confirm notable variability in the construct reliability of a multi-item alcohol use measure during the transition to adulthood. The alcohol use measure failed tests of metric and scalar invariance, increasingly across ages, both between- and within-groups defined by race/ethnicity, sexual identity, and college education, particularly among females. Measurement testing is a critical step when utilizing multi-item measures of alcohol use. Studies that do not account for the effects of group or longitudinal measurement non-invariance may be statistically biased, such that recommendations for risk and prevention efforts could be misguided.

URL

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.10.005

Keyword(s)

Alcohol use Measurement invariance Development Race/ethnicity Sexual identity College attendance

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Addictive Behaviors

Author(s)

Fish, Jessica N.
Pollitt, Amanda M.
Schulenberg, John E.
Russell, Stephen T.

Year Published

2018

Volume Number

77

Issue Number

Supplement C

Pages

193-202

Edition

October 12, 2017

DOI

10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.10.005

NIHMSID

NIHMS913021

Reference ID

8335