Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Feelings of immaturity accompany alcohol misuse into adulthood

Date:
April 17, 2012
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Tipping back one too many cocktails during an individual's early 20s doesn't correlate to a personal sense of immaturity; however if this habit doesn't stop as they reach age 30, young adults can feel psychologically underdeveloped, according to a new study. Helping young adults acknowledge their mental impulse to "sober up" as they mature can improve substance abuse intervention programs.

Tipping back one too many cocktails during an individual's early 20s doesn't correlate to a personal sense of immaturity; however if this habit doesn't stop as they reach age 30, young adults can feel psychologically underdeveloped, according to a University of Missouri study. Helping young adults acknowledge their mental impulse to "sober up" as they mature can improve substance abuse intervention programs.

"When a heavy drinking 30-year-old comes in for therapy and says he doesn't feel like an adult, we can present this study and suggest that cutting back on alcohol could help him feel more mature," said lead researcher Rachel Winograd, a doctoral student in psychology at MU.

"People in their early 20s who accept their own heavy drinking and experience alcohol-related consequences may not realize that these behaviors can be associated with identity issues later on," said Winograd. "We can apply this research to nip the problem in the bud and help young adults become aware that their alcohol use behaviors may conflict with their long-term goals."

When more than 400 25-years-old adults were interviewed, some showed signs of alcohol use problems, but their problems didn't correlate to self-reported feelings of immaturity. When surveyed again four years later at age 29 and then again at age 35, subjects expressed different sentiments: individuals who showed signs of alcohol abuse or dependence also self-reported feeling immature for their age.

"We interpreted our findings to suggest that, at 25, drinking is more culturally acceptable," Winograd said. "Young adults are out at the bars with their friends and drinking is a bonding experience. They also view blacking out, vomiting and drunk driving as more acceptable because peers are behaving similarly.

"But by 29, when many of their peers have settled down, individuals who still drink heavily may start to view themselves as 'Peter Pans' of partying, who never fully matured," Winograd said.

The study relied on data collected from a group, which was studied since they were college freshmen in 1987 by Kenneth Sher, Winograd's adviser, study co-author and curators' distinguished professor of psychological sciences. Previous studies examined this group's attitudes toward drinking when they were younger.

"This study picked up where studies of adolescents left off," Winograd said, "There seems to be a window of time in the early to mid-20s when drinking is not associated with immaturity. Before and after that window, excessive alcohol use is associated with a lower self-reporting of maturity, according to our results and previous studies."

Having data from previous studies going back to 1987 about the same group of young adults was an important resource for the new study. Unless there has been a major cultural shift in attitudes, examining the same group as they mature over the years is almost always better for this type of study than surveying different age groups at the same time, said Sher.

"Most critically, it allows us to assume that age differences in the size or direction of an effect is associated with developmental change and not related to sampling biases associated with sampling two different age groups," said Sher.


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. Rachel P. Winograd, Andrew K. Littlefield, Kenneth J. Sher. Do People Who “Mature Out” of Drinking See Themselves as More Mature? Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01724.x

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Feelings of immaturity accompany alcohol misuse into adulthood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120417102604.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2012, April 17). Feelings of immaturity accompany alcohol misuse into adulthood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120417102604.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Feelings of immaturity accompany alcohol misuse into adulthood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120417102604.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