We analyzed factors that discriminate between adolescents at-risk of escalating into excessive alcohol consumption from those that – despite exhibiting similar level of initial alcohol exposure — will not progress towards excessive or problematic alcohol consumption Adolescent Wistar rats were sequentially evaluated from PD 25 to 28 in anxiety behaviors, exploration of a novel context, risk assessment and shelter and anhedonia in open field tests, throught light-dark box, open field, multivariate concentric square field and sucrose preference test, respectively. Subsequently, the animals were evaluated for alcohol consumption using a double-bottle intake test (alcohol vs. water) of DP 32-47. The aim was to build a predictive model for alcohol consumption at adolescence, as a function of behavioral traits (anxiety and risk assessment behaviors, preference for sweet flavors, and activity level in an open field) that previous studies associated with addictive behaviors in humans. The model significantly explained 11% of the variance of alcohol consumption scores. Anxiety-related variables were those that contributed the most to the explanation of the dependent variable. The model explained free-choice alcohol consumption, but not overall liquid or sucrose consumption. The results shed light on vulnerability factors, specific to the adolescent stage, that promote engagement in problematic trajectories of alcohol use.
Keywords: ethanol consumption, adolescent, anxiety, risk a