, Volume 236, Issue 11, pp 3111–3124 | Cite as

Rate of alcohol consumption in the daily life of adolescents and emerging adults

  • Ryan W. Carpenter
  • H. Treloar Padovano
  • Noah N. Emery
  • Robert MirandaJrEmail author
Original Investigation



Alcohol consumption in adolescents and emerging adults is a significant issue. However, our understanding of the topography of alcohol use within drinking episodes in this population is at a nascent stage.


This study characterized rate of alcohol consumption in the daily lives of problem drinkers ages 16–24 years (N = 75). We examined whether AUD symptoms and the presence of peers, factors relevant to alcohol consumption in youth, were associated with rate of consumption.


Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) was used (Nobservations = 799). Rate of consumption was defined as change in estimated blood alcohol concentration (eBAC) relative to the start of the drinking episode. Piecewise multi-level modeling was used to test hypotheses. As a comparison, we examined whether indicators of quantity and frequency (Q-F) were associated with AUD symptoms and presence of peers.


For all participants, eBAC increased sharply early in the episode, then plateaued. Participants with more AUD symptoms or who were in the presence of peers had significantly steeper increases in eBAC over the early part of the episode. Participants with more AUD symptoms were also more likely to engage in binge-like behavior. For Q-F, only peak eBAC and peak number of standard drinks were associated with AUD symptoms, and not presence of peers.


Findings highlight the value of rate of consumption as an indicator of use in youth, one sensitive to the influence of relevant person-level and situational factors. Intervention efforts may benefit from targeting the speed at which youth drink.


Alcohol use disorder Youth Rate of consumption Peers Ecological momentary assessment 


Funding information

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA007850, PI: Miranda; AA024808, PI: Treloar; AA007459, PI: Monti; L30AA027041: PI, Emery) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA016184, PI: Rohsenow) supported this research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

213_2019_5262_MOESM1_ESM.docx (289 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 288 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan W. Carpenter
    • 1
  • H. Treloar Padovano
    • 1
  • Noah N. Emery
    • 1
  • Robert MirandaJr
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Center for Alcohol and Addiction StudiesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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