Parenting: Teens, Best Friends & Alcohol

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found some compelling results that I am eager to share with you. Researchers at the University of Iowa-led team found that teens who get their first alcoholic drink from a friend are more likely to drink at earlier ages which may put them at risk to abuse alcohol when they get older. The researchers were on a mission to discover what drives teens to drink. After looking at a number of possibilities they found that teenagers whose best friends drank alcohol were three times more likely to drink themselves. When it comes to alcohol and drinking -peer pressure plays a significant role.

These findings are very important especially in light of the findings of a University of Michigan study of 2011 which found that one-third of 8th graders in the U.S. report that they’ve tried alcohol. More than 50% report that they’ve had alcohol by 10th grade. By 12th grade 70% say that they have had their first drink. Since teens who have had their first drink before the age of 15 are more likely to either abuse or become dependent on alcohol the takeaway message of this study is that parents must pay attention to who their teens are hanging around with.