Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Relaxed Attitudes Toward Alcohol And Youth May Increase Risk Of Binge Drinking In College

Date:
June 11, 2009
Source:
Inside Science News Service / American Institute of Physics
Summary:
Restaurants in Germany legally sell alcohol to teenagers after their sixteenth birthdays and French children drink wine with dinner at an early age, but US parents who follow this relaxed European example, believing it fosters a healthier attitude toward alcohol, should be careful -- it may increase the likelihood that their children binge drink in college.

Should parents allow their teenage children to drink alcohol? Restaurants in Germany can legally sell alcohol to a teenager after his sixteenth birthday, and French children drink wine with dinner in the home starting at an early age. But U.S. parents who try to follow this relaxed European example, believing it fosters a healthier attitude towards alcohol, should be careful about giving alcohol to their children -- it may increase the likelihood that they binge drink in college.

Related Articles


That's the latest finding of researcher Caitlin Abar of the Prevention Research and Methodology Center at Pennsylvania State University. At this year's meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, she suggested that parents practice a zero-tolerance policy in the home and said that there is no scientific basis to the common belief that prohibiting alcohol turns it into a "forbidden fruit" and encourages abuse.

In 31 states, parents can legally serve alcohol to their underage children. Though U.S. teenagers drink less often than adults, they tend to drink more at a time -- on average, five drinks in a sitting -- according to Ralph Hingson of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. About 87 percent of college students try alcohol, and 40 percent say that they regularly engage in some type of binge drinking.

To see if parents prohibiting alcohol might be an underlying cause of binge drinking, Abar surveyed almost 300 college freshmen and compared their drinking habits to their parents' attitudes towards alcohol. Those students whose parents never allowed them to drink -- about half of the group -- were significantly less likely to drink heavily in college, regardless of gender.

Moreover, "the greater number of drinks that a parent had set as a limit for the teens, the more often they drank and got drunk in college," said Abar. Whether the parents themselves drank, on the other hand, had little effect on predicting their children's behaviors.

Further research is needed to confirm the preliminary study, said Abar. For one thing, she did not separate students who specifically drank with their parents at meals from those whose parents allowed their children to drink both inside and outside of the house.

A previous study in 2004 by Kristie Foley of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina showed that teenagers who received alcohol from their parents for parties were up to three times more likely to binge drink within a month, while those who drank only with the family were less likely to binge. So the context in which a parent provides alcohol may be key.

The difference could also be due to some other factor -- parents who prohibit their children from drinking may simply provide more structure in general, for example.

Furthermore, the sample of college students is not necessarily representative of the entire U.S. population, said Alexander Wagenaar, a social epidemiologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville who has charted the effects of raising the drinking age for nearly three decades. The survey group in Abar's sample was composed almost entirely of white students who lived on campus.

Wagenaar finds the data convincing, though, because previous research uncovered a similar effect in low-income African-American and Hispanic students. A 2007 study of 1,388 children by Kelli Komro of the University of Florida showed that schoolchildren who were permitted alcohol in the home by their parents in sixth grade were up to three times more likely to get drunk and almost twice as likely to drink heavily (five or more drinks) at ages 12-14.

Researcher Margaret Kerr of Orebro University in Sweden discussed her own experimental evidence in favor of prohibiting alcohol in the home. She and her colleagues have designed a no-drinking intervention program that, in a pilot study published in a scientific journal earlier this year, cut teen drunkenness by 35 percent.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inside Science News Service / American Institute of Physics. The original article was written by Devin Powell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Inside Science News Service / American Institute of Physics. "Relaxed Attitudes Toward Alcohol And Youth May Increase Risk Of Binge Drinking In College." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610124823.htm>.
Inside Science News Service / American Institute of Physics. (2009, June 11). Relaxed Attitudes Toward Alcohol And Youth May Increase Risk Of Binge Drinking In College. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610124823.htm
Inside Science News Service / American Institute of Physics. "Relaxed Attitudes Toward Alcohol And Youth May Increase Risk Of Binge Drinking In College." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610124823.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins