Young men's behavioral competencies and risk of alcohol use disorder in emerging adulthood: Early protective effects of parental education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We investigate how early exposure to parental externalizing behaviors (EB) may contribute to development of alcohol use disorders (AUD) in young adulthood, testing a developmental cascade model focused on competencies in three domains (academic, conduct, and work) in adolescence and emerging adulthood, and examining whether high parental education can buffer negative effects of parental EB and other early risk factors. We use data from 451,054 Swedish-born men included in the national conscript register. Structural equation models showed parental EB was associated with academic and behavioral problems during adolescence, as well as with lower resilience, more criminal behavior, and reduced social integration during emerging adulthood. These pathways led to elevated rates of AUD in emerging and young adulthood. Multiple groups analysis showed most of the indirect pathways from parental EB to AUD were present but buffered by higher parental education, suggesting early life experiences and competencies matter more for young men from lower socioeconomic status (SES) families than from higher SES families. Developmental competencies in school, conduct, and work are important precursors to the development of AUD by young adulthood that are predicted by parental EB. Occupational success may be an overlooked source of resilience for young men from low-SES families.


External organisations
  • Public Health Institute Oakland
  • Center for Primary Health Care Research
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Work
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • academic competence, alcohol use disorder, criminal behavior, externalizing behavior, socioeconomic status
Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Mar 3
Publication categoryResearch