The effect of types of postsecondary education on drinking: does age of enrollment matter?
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Using longitudinal data from early adolescence through young adulthood, this study examined the association between different types of postsecondary education (PSE), age of enrollment in PSE, and the trajectory of alcohol use for Canadian young adults (N = 521). Trajectories of alcohol use were compared across young adults at 2-year colleges, 4-year universities, transfer programs (started at a 2-year college and transferred to a 4-year university), and terminal high school graduates. While initial findings revealed significant differences in the drinking trajectories of 2-year college students and 4-year university students, all differences were accounted for by variability in the age of enrollment. Overall, there were few differences in heavy drinking across types of institutions, but younger students increased their alcohol use more than older students following enrollment. However, young adults who do not attend PSE may be at greatest risk for heavy drinking over time.
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