Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Volunteering, helping others decreases substance use in rural teens, study finds

Date:
November 11, 2011
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 report the highest rates of substance use and dependence, according to the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use & Health. A new study found that rural adolescents who engage in prosocial behaviors, such as volunteering and helping others, are less likely to use substances as young adults.

Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 report the highest rates of substance use and dependence, according to the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use & Health. A new study from the University of Missouri found that rural adolescents who engage in prosocial behaviors, such as volunteering and helping others, are less likely to use substances as young adults.

Gustavo Carlo, Millsap Professor of Diversity in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, examined data from surveys given to a group of rural youths from junior high school to young adulthood. Carlo found that prosocial behaviors serve as protective factors against adolescents engaging in risky behaviors. Thus, teens who engage in more prosocial behaviors are less likely to get drunk or use marijuana as young adults.

"Prosocial behaviors are good for society and communities, but also they are a marker of moral development," Carlo said. "Parents want their kids to be kind, selfless, considerate and respectful. We now have evidence that these prosocial behaviors make adolescents less likely to break moral codes and engage in illegal activities like getting drink and smoking marijuana."

The study focused on rural youths because previous research indicates they may be more apt to use illicit substances earlier, putting them at risk for developing addiction problems as adults. Rural communities tend to be more spread out, making it difficult for adolescents to get transportation to events and activities. In addition, rural communities often have less access to recreation centers, spaces for meetings, volunteers to run programs and funding for organized activities.

"There is a tendency for youths to take part in risky behaviors if they are not engaged in positive, structured activities," Carlo said. "Many rural communities have suffered from the economic downturn and are unable to offer opportunities for youth activities. Financial stress can also affect the psychological health of parents making them less cognizant of how children spend their time."

Carlo says the research has important implications for substance use prevention and intervention programs aimed at teens.

"Research shows that prevention programs are more effective and economical," Carlo said. "If we can develop programs that foster prosocial behaviors, we know the programs will decrease the likelihood that adolescents will use substances in adulthood.

The study, "The Longitudinal Relationships Between Rural Adolescents' Prosocial Behaviors and Young Adult Substance Use," was published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is part of the College of Human Environmental Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gustavo Carlo, Lisa J. Crockett, Jamie L. Wilkinson, Sarah J. Beal. The Longitudinal Relationships Between Rural Adolescents’ Prosocial Behaviors and Young Adult Substance Use. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 2010; 40 (9): 1192 DOI: 10.1007/s10964-010-9588-4

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Volunteering, helping others decreases substance use in rural teens, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110151703.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2011, November 11). Volunteering, helping others decreases substance use in rural teens, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110151703.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Volunteering, helping others decreases substance use in rural teens, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110151703.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." 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:
from the past week

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