Monday, June 15, 2009

Teens who Drink at Home More Likely to Drink Heavily in College

A study from Penn State University indicates that parents who allow their teenagers to drink at home may be increasing their children’s risk of dangerous drinking later in life.

Dr. Caitlin Abar, of PSU’s Prevention Research and Methodology Center, studied 300 college freshmen. Half the group had parents who never allowed them to drink, and they were the ones less likely to drink heavily in college.

“The greater the number of drinks that a parent had set as the limit for their teens, the more often they drank and got drunk in college,” Dr. Abar reported. Dr. Abar’s study conflicts with conventional wisdom that it is best not to make alcohol into a “forbidden fruit” and better to drink with your children at home, the way some European families do.

A previous study from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center found that teenagers whose parents gave them alcohol at parties were three times more likely to binge drink in college.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 87 percent of college students have experimented with alcohol and 40 percent say they regularly engage in binge drinking, which is defined as having five or more drinks at one sitting.