Australasian study finds regular teen drinking leads to adult alcohol problems

July 2018
Using four longitudinal studies from both Australia and New Zealand, up to 9000 participants were assessed on multiple occasions between the ages 13 and 30 years. The researchers claim that the study provides the “most robust evidence to date that there is a causal relationship between adolescent drinking and alcohol problems in adulthood”. One of the most important findings was that frequency of drinking during adolescence predicts substance use problems in adulthood as much as, and possibly more than, heavy episodic drinking (i.e., ‘binge drinking’). So when a parent says their child “only has a couple of beers when they go out on the weekend – he doesn’t get drunk!”, believing that to be protective – this study debunks that myth. Teen experimentation with alcohol does not promote responsible drinking: instead, it sets a young person up for later–life problem drinking. A media release outlining the major findings is available.

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