Friday, June 25, 2010

Teen Drinking Influenced by Parenting

Teens with loving but directive parents appear to drink less than those with either permissive parents or strict but non-supportive parents, according to a recent medical study.

The study, led by researchers from Brigham Young University, and published in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, surveyed 5,000 Utah students from 12 to 19 years old, who reported on their relationship with their parents and their drinking habits.

Parents were classified in 4 groups:
  • Authoritative parents - high on warmth (support, nurturing) and accountability (control, monitor, discipline)
  • Authoritarian parents - low on warmth, high on accountability
  • Indulgent parents - high on warmth, low on accountability
  • Neglectful parents - low on warmth, low on accountability
Based on self reporting by the students, the study found that the teen children of authoritative children saw the least amount of excessive drinking, while children of authoritarian or indulgent parents saw 2.5 times as much risk of excessive drinking, and children of neglectful parents saw 4.5 times as much risk of excessive drinking. On the other hand, parenting style did not appear to influence whether teens tried alcoholic beverages. "While parents didn't have much of an effect on whether their teens tried alcohol, they can have a significant impact on heavy drinking," said Stephen Bahr, coauthor of the study and professor at BYU.

The study also found that religious teens were less likely to indulge in excessive drinking than non-religious teens.

Want to read more about it? Try WebMD,the Salt Lake City Tribune, the Mormon Times, CNN, Business Week, Economic Times, CBC News, the Globe and Mail, Science Blog, and the LA Times.

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