A bad influence: Teenagers with friends from a different school are more likely to drink alcohol and lie to their parents, study warns
- Scientists surveyed 81,674 teens who enrolled in school from 1994 to 1995
- They were asked about friendships, and how often they drank alcohol
- Results revealed that non-school friendships were more strongly associated with deviant behaviours and alcohol use than in-school friendships
If your teenager has friends from different schools, a new study may ring alarm bells for you.
New research has revealed that teens with friends outside school are more likely to drink alcohol and lie to their parents, than those whose main friendship group is at their own school.
The findings add to mounting evidence that non-school friendships may be more likely to promote delinquency and alcohol use than in-school friendships, according to the researchers.
The team hopes their research could help inform efforts to curb underage drinking.
New research has revealed that teens with friends outside school are more likely to drink alcohol and lie to their parents, than those whose main friendship group is at their own school (stock image)
In the study, researchers from the University of California, Irvine, surveyed 81,674 adolescents who enrolled in school from 1994 to 1995.
The teens were asked about their in-school and non-school friendships, as well as how often they drank alcohol, skipped school and lied to their parents.
The researchers also examined factors that might impact friendships, such as participation in school clubs, socioeconomic status, and distance from school to home.
The results revealed that non-school friendships were more strongly associated with deviant behaviours and alcohol use than in-school friendships.
Rather surprisingly, participants with non-school friends still tended to be engaged with their schools, such as by participating in clubs, and tended to play key roles in the peer groups.
Delving deeper into the findings, the researchers also found that teens who lacked parental support and those enrolled in schools with a high dropout rate were more likely to drink alcohol
The researchers said: ‘Most existing research focused on in-school friendships, but we found that out of school friendships are important as well; adolescents with more out of school friendships reported more adolescent deviance and alcohol use.
‘Also, a somewhat surprising finding was that youth who have more out of school friendships are more central in the school network and more likely to participate in school-based clubs.’
Delving deeper into the findings, the researchers also found that teens who lacked parental support and those enrolled in schools with a high dropout rate were more likely to drink alcohol.
While the reason for this remains unclear, the researchers hope the findings will help to inform efforts to reduce delinquency and underage drinking.
The study was performed in the US, but that’s not to say that underage drinking isn’t also an issue in the UK.
In 2018, one in ten school pupils aged 11-15 in England had drunk alcohol in the last week, according to Drink Aware.
Almost of those who drank in the last week had consumed alcohol only on one day in that week.
DO YOU DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL? THE 10 QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL YOUR RISK
One screening tool used widely by medical professionals is the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tests). Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the 10-question test is considered to be the gold standard in helping to determine if someone has alcohol abuse problems.
The test has been reproduced here with permission from the WHO.
To complete it, answer each question and note down the corresponding score.
0-7: You are within the sensible drinking range and have a low risk of alcohol-related problems.
Over 8: Indicate harmful or hazardous drinking.
8-15: Medium level of risk. Drinking at your current level puts you at risk of developing problems with your health and life in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting down (see below for tips).
16-19: Higher risk of complications from alcohol. Cutting back on your own may be difficult at this level, as you may be dependent, so you may need professional help from your GP and/or a counsellor.
20 and over: Possible dependence. Your drinking is already causing you problems, and you could very well be dependent. You should definitely consider stopping gradually or at least reduce your drinking. You should seek professional help to ascertain the level of your dependence and the safest way to withdraw from alcohol.
Severe dependence may need medically assisted withdrawal, or detox, in a hospital or a specialist clinic. This is due to the likelihood of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the first 48 hours needing specialist treatment.
Source: Read Full Article