Chances are the only thing you remember about your first swig of alcohol is how bad the stuff tasted. What you didn’t know is the person who gave you that first drink and when you had it says a lot about your predisposition to imbibe later in life.
A national study by a University of Iowa-led research team has found that adolescents who get their first drink from a friend are more likely to drink sooner in life, which past research shows makes teens more prone to abusing alcohol when they get older.
Whether best friends drink alcohol was the most influential among other factors studied, including measures of disruptive behavior, a family history of alcohol dependence and a measure of poor social skills. The basis of the study is also compelling: One-third of eighth graders in the United States report they’ve tried alcohol, and by 10th grade, more than half say they’ve had a first drink, according to a 2011 study of 20,000 teens conducted by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Also recently reported is a national survey examining brand preferences of underage drinkers, conducted by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health and the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. It reports that underage drinking is concentrated in a small number of brands, with the top 10 being Bud Light, Smirnoff Malts, Budweiser, Smirnoff Vodkas, Coors Light, Jack Daniel’s Bourbons, Corona Extra, Mike’s, Captain Morgan Rums and Absolut Vodkas. Researchers say their report paves the way for additional studies to explore the impact of alcohol advertising and marketing on underage drinking behavior.
With spring break and prom season on the horizon Connect with Kids believes that there’s no better time to talk with students and parents about the real-life risks of alcohol — and to discuss and role play alternative behaviors.