Protocol - Alcohol - Age of First Use
Measurement to ascertain the respondent’s age at which he or she had his or her first alcoholic drink.
Respondents are only asked this question if they answered "yes" to the Alcohol - Lifetime Use measure. Alcohol is defined as any type of alcohol (including coolers, beer, wine, champagne) and liquor (e.g., whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, scotch, or liqueurs).
The Working Group acknowledges that the following question may gather sensitive information relating to the use of substances or illegal conduct. If the information is released, it might be damaging to an individual’s employability, lead to social stigmatization, or result in other consequences.
For information on obtaining a Certificate of Confidentiality, which helps researchers protect the privacy of human research participants, please go to the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Institutional Review Board website.
The following question is asked of the respondent. Respondents answer "yes" or "no" to this question. Read the introductory paragraph to the respondent. If your questionnaire includes multiple questions about alcohol, then the first sentence should be "The next questions are about drinking alcohol."
If the respondent needs a visual reference for the size, the flashcards from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC-III) study are provided below:
Size of Cooler
Size of Wine
Size of Liquor
The next question is about drinks of alcoholic beverages. By a "drink," we mean a can or bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a wine cooler, a shot of liquor, or a mixed drink with liquor in it. We are not asking about times when you only had a sip or two from a drink.
- Think about the first time you had a drink of an alcoholic beverage. How old were you the first time you had a drink of an alcoholic beverage? Please do not include any time when you only had a sip or two from a drink.
Protocol Name from Source:
2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
Personnel and Training Required
Interviewer must be trained and found competent to conduct personal interviews with individuals from the general population. The interviewer should be trained to prompt respondents further if a "don’t know" response is provided.
While the source instrument was developed for administration by computer, the PhenX Expert Review Panel acknowledges that these questions can be administered in a noncomputerized format.
|Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection||No|
|Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual||No|
Mode of Administration
18 years of age or older
The protocol from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) was chosen because it is a large, nationally representative study. The measures from this survey have been validated and psychometrically tested.
|Common Data Elements (CDE)||Alcohol Use Start Age in Years||2008447||CDE Browser|
Process and Review
The Expert Review Panel #3 (ERP 3) reviewed the measures in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Substances, and Substance Abuse and Addiction domains.
Guidance from ERP 3 includes:
• Updated protocol
• New Data Dictionary
Back-compatible: Not back-compatible (vastly different than previous protocol which would require a new data dictionary) and not recommended for use (discredited or no longer considered broadly validated)
Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015, February). National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2015. Rockville, MD: Author. CAI Specifications for Programming, English Version. Question AL02.
Hingson, R., Zha, W., & White, A. (2016). The usefulness of "age at first drink" as a concept in alcohol research and prevention. Addiction.
McBride, O., & Cheng, H. G. (2011). Exploring the emergence of alcohol use disorder symptoms in the two years after onset of drinking: Findings from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Addiction, 106(3), 555-563.
|Variable Name||Variable ID||Variable Description||Version||dbGaP Mapping|
Alcohol - Age of First Use
November 21, 2016
Question asking the respondent how old he or she was when he or she first consumed an alcoholic beverage.
This measure captures when the participant had his or her first alcoholic drink.
Alcohol, alcohol age, alcohol initiation, alcohol onset, alcohol use, alcohol abuse, coolers, beer, wine, champagne, liquor, whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, scotch, liqueurs, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIAAA, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, NSDUH, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM