Adolescents' Alcohol and Drug Use Trajectories in the Year Following Treatment

Tammy Chung, Stephen A. Maisto, Jack R. Cornelius, Christopher S. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Objective: Beyond the initial relapse episode, little is known about short-term patterns of alcohol and other drug use in treated adolescents. This study characterized treated teens' short-term alcohol and other drug use trajectories over 1-year follow-up. Method: Adolescents (N = 110, ages 12-18, 65% male, 94% white) recruited from addictions treatment, with a current DSM-IV alcohol diagnosis, reported on daily alcohol and other drug use in monthly telephone contacts over 1-year follow-up using the Timeline Follow-Back procedure. Latent class mixture modeling identified trajectories based on maximum number of consecutive abstinent days per month, separately for alcohol and other drugs. Results: Four alcohol trajectories were identified: high abstinence (53%), decreasing abstinence (10%), increasing abstinence (16%) and low abstinence (21%). The alcohol trajectories were distinguished by gender, age, readiness to change substance use and alcohol-related coping. To characterize changes in alcohol abstinence in relation to abstinence from other drugs, four other drug trajectories were identified: high (59%), decreasing (12%), increasing (14%) and low (15%) abstinence. Cross-classification of the alcohol and drug trajectories indicated a moderate level of concordance (kappa = 0.49). Conclusions: Multiple pathways of short-term change in alcohol and other drug use were identified. Although changes in abstinence from alcohol and other drug use tended to co-occur, exceptions were observed. Differences between alcohol trajectories in readiness to change substance use and use of substance coping suggest the potentially positive impact of targeted and effectively timed interventions that focus on motivational enhancement and on improving substance coping for certain adolescent subgroups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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