Humans have a long-held fascination with alcohol, with rich evidence of its use throughout history. Research suggests that alcohol has played a role in the evolution of our species. Evolutionary models speculate that since rotting fermented fruits are rich in calories, our ancestors have likely been gathering these fermented fruits which put them in an evolutionary advantage, i.e., by gaining more calories and thus being more likely to survive (Sullivan, 2015). The first evidence of actual alcohol brewing stems from 9.000 years ago. Through time, humans have used alcohol for its antiseptic and nutritional properties, and more recently, social functions. In many cultures of the world, alcohol has long been engrained in cultural and social practices.
Alcohol has a functional role in (cultural) traditions, celebrations, and human social interaction. This is true for adult populations, but also during adolescence, where alcohol has perceived emotional benefits. The latter is concerning, as early initiation of alcohol use is associated with later heavy and problematic use, which has detrimental individual and societal effects. Therefore, it makes sense that alcohol is among the most thoroughly investigated substances from diverse fields such as psychology, sociology and public health (Bucholz & Robins, 1989; Donovan, 2004; Room, Babor, & Rehm, 2005).
The present thesis finds it source in the developmental psychology field, with the aim to further unravel the developmental pathway from parental alcohol use to offspring alcohol-related cognitions and eventual alcohol use initiation and drinking patterns; aiming to add further insight on when and how prevention should start.
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