In other words, an individual enters adolescence with personality characteristics and life experiences that have accumulated during the first decade of life.
An evaluation of measures of temperament from children six months through to five years of age has found that childhood temperament prior to age five predicts adolescent alcohol use and problems at age 15.5 years, even after controlling for socio-demographic factors and parental alcohol problems.
Results will be published in the December 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.
"Most scientists who study alcohol use start studying people in adolescence, since that is when alcohol use is usually first initiated/experimented with," explained Danielle Dick, associate professor of psychiatry, psychology and human and molecular genetics with the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioural Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University.
"But people don't enter adolescence as blank slates; they have a history of life experiences that they bring with them, dating back to early childhood. This is one of the most comprehensive attempts to understand very early childhood predictors of adolescent alcohol use in a large epidemiological cohort."
"In my opinion, the major contribution of the current study is that it shows that these personality differences emerge very early in life."
"All things considered," said Dick, "it's not just 'problem kids' who get involved in alcohol use. It's also the highly sociable kids as well. Parents should be aware of this."
Read the full article here