Heavy Episodic Drinking Trajectories Among Underage Young Adult Women: The Role of Feminine Norms

Derek Kenji Iwamoto, William Corbin, Jennifer Brady, Margaux Grivel, Lauren Clinton, Aylin Kaya, Carl Lejuez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Heavy episodic drinking (HED; 4 or more drinks in a 2-hour period) in U.S. college women has increased by 40% in the past 30 years. This dramatic shift suggests that women are “closing the gender gap” and are drinking at rates similar to men. Multidimensional feminine norms, or beliefs and expectations about what it means to be a woman, are theoretically promising and gender-relevant factors that may help account for within-group differences in problematic drinking patterns among this increasingly at-risk group. The aim of this study was to identify distinct developmental trajectories of HED among underage young adult women and examine the gender-relevant factors that predict these typologies. Methods: Growth mixture modeling was used to identify latent trajectory classes of HED over the course of a year (3 time points) in 700 underage (Wave 1, M age  = 18, SD = 0.32) young adult women from a Mid-Atlantic university in the United States. Logistic regression analyses evaluated feminine norm endorsement, sorority status, perceived peer norms, expectancies, alcohol-related consequences, and marijuana use as predictors of the latent trajectory classes. Results: About 64.4% of underage women reported engaging in HED. Three HED latent trajectory classes were identified as follows: (i) High Risk, (31%) reported weekly HED over the course of the year; (ii) Monthly HED (33.4%) reported engaging in HED roughly once a month; and (iii) Abstainers (35.6%) reported no HED over the course of the year. The High-Risk class reported significantly more alcohol-related problems and marijuana use than the other trajectory classes. The multidimensional feminine norms of sexual fidelity and appearance were significantly associated with the latent trajectory classes even when controlling for well-established correlates of drinking. Conclusions: High-risk drinking typologies were identified in underage women, and these trajectories were related to feminine norms. Prevention and intervention programs targeting gender-relevant factors may help reduce problematic drinking and marijuana use among underage women engaging in problematic patterns of drinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-560
Number of pages10
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Alcohol
  • Feminine Norms
  • Heavy Episodic Drinking
  • Longitudinal
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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