Palatability, Familiarity, and Underage, Immoderate Drinking

Jim Lemon*, Richard Stevenson, Peter Gates, Jan Copeland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Data gathered in a study of palatability ("liking") and familiarity ratings of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages by 350 subjects from 12 to 30 years of age included the usual number of drinks consumed. Blind ratings of palatability and familiarity for the beverages were tested for association with immoderate drinking (more than four for males, two for females). Palatability ratings were combined in a principal components analysis to determine whether any component scores were related to such drinking. Liking for the spirits used in the ready-to-drink beverages was related to immoderate drinking in participants under 18 years of age, while liking for the ready-to-drink beverages themselves was not. Liking for beer was related to immoderate drinking in males under 18. The principal components analysis suggested that males who drank immoderately preferred pungent (bitter or acrid) beverages, while females who drank immoderately did not. The associations of palatability ratings with immoderate drinking were substantial and consistent with familiarity ratings, but were found among the least palatable beverages. The results are related to previous studies of beverage preference in underage, heavy drinkers. It is concluded that relative palatability is not an overriding factor in the choice of beverages among underage drinkers who drink beyond the recommended limits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-449
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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