New research finds parents’ alcohol consumption influences teen drinking habits

New research sheds light on the significant influence of parents’ alcohol consumption patterns on their teenagers’ drinking habits. In the study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers discovered that teens whose parents engage in alcohol consumption for at least five days a month or binge drink are markedly more likely to partake in drinking themselves compared to their peers whose parents either abstain from alcohol or do not engage in binge drinking.

The study revealed that teenagers whose parents engage in binge drinking are four times more likely to consume alcohol themselves compared to those whose parents do not binge drink.

Researchers say it’s important to note that adolescents tend to be less inclined to drink when their parents establish strict rules against alcohol consumption or effectively communicate cautionary messages. Conversely, factors such as ready access to substances within the home, parental permission for underage drinking, or parental provision of alcohol are linked to earlier initiation of drinking and potential alcohol-related issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, underage drinking remains a prevalent issue in the United States. Between 2015 and 2019, excessive alcohol use was responsible for nearly 4,000 annual deaths among people under the age of 21. Furthermore, adolescents who consume alcohol often engage in the use of other substances, posing additional challenges given the increasingly unpredictable nature of the drug supply.

The study drew from data collected from 740 parent-child dyads participating in the June 2020 SummerStyles and YouthStyles surveys.