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New study confirms early teen alcohol use leads to harmful drinking practices

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 23 Apr 2023, 12:56pm
(Photo / Getty Images)
(Photo / Getty Images)

New study confirms early teen alcohol use leads to harmful drinking practices

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 23 Apr 2023, 12:56pm

Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol than in previous generations, however alcohol is still one of the biggest contributors to death and illness in young people, including via injuries, accidents and suicide. 

Parents play a key role in providing teenagers with the tools to make healthy life choices, they are also one of the main sources of alcohol for teenagers. 

It’s a common belief that the best way to introduce alcohol to teenagers so that they have a safe and responsible relationship with it is to introduce drinking at home with their parents. 

However, new research published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review finds the opposite to be true. 

The research involved studying 16-17 year old teenagers and their drinking habits back in 2016 and then following them over the next 6 years to see if their youth drinking had any effect on their young adult drinking. 

The study found that at the age of 16 and 17, 49 percent of teenagers had drunk alcohol in the past month, 11 percent of those were drinking at risky levels (5 or more drinks in one sitting). 

If the teenager had been introduced to alcohol at home by their parents (28 percent of the participants), they were more likely to experience alcohol related harm and more likely to be current drinkers as young adults compared to those who had not been introduced to alcohol by their parents. 

When it came to alcohol related harm, this was experienced by 23 percent of those who drank as teenagers with parents compared to 17 percent of those who didn’t drink with parents. 

When it came to current drinking behaviour as a young adult, 77 percent of those who drank as teenagers with parents drank within the last month compared to 63 percent of those who didn’t initially drink with parents. 

The research concluded that early alcohol use, even if in a safe environment at home with parents could lead to harmful drinking practices now and later in life. 

Instead of granting permission to teenagers to drink at home, normalising alcohol, the researchers suggest that parents should encourage their children to delay their first drink for as long as possible and have conversations with them about the effects of alcohol. 

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