Research Reveals Risk for Alcohol Abuse Among Adolescent Females

A group of researchers in Sweden examined the social life of 357 girls over four years. The purpose of the study was to determine what sort of factors influence young girls to try alcohol and drugs. After compiling the data, the research indicated that girls who grow up in families with little supervision are much more likely to consume alcohol.

The study is important because experts agree that children who start experimenting with alcohol at a young age are more likely to develop an addiction as they get older. Parents who are unsure how much control they should exert over their teenage daughters may take some cues from the results of this study, and feel more comfortable enforcing slightly more rules and guidelines for supervision.

In order to conduct the study, researchers followed girls from the age of 13 to 17. For the four years during the study they were asked questions about their curfew and the frequency that they consumed alcohol. The outcome of the study showed that no matter how much parental intervention, teenage girls are likely to experiment with alcohol. However, girls whose parents are more strict tended to drink less than girls whose parents are more lax with their rules. Young girls who fell within the category of strict parent had an 84% increase in alcohol abuse. This is in sharp contrast to the girls who fell into the category of less strict parents. This group had a 234% increase in alcohol abuse.

“…girls alienated from same-age peers seek the company of older, more mature youth during a developmental period when alcohol consumption becomes increasingly normative,” explained the authors of the study. This is important because it shows that parents who go too far with being strict with their girls are more likely to push them into experimenting with alcohol and drugs. There does seem to be a fine line of strict and too strict, according to the study. Researchers pointed out that girls in both groups the girls drank alcohol, however it moved to abuse more often in the group whose parents had less control over the girls.

Can Driving Regulations Reduce Underage Drinking?

One of the biggest things in life that most teenagers look forward to is the ability to drive a care, legally, by themselves. The freedom of finally being able to go somewhere without having to rely on someone else can be exhilarating for a 16 yr old. So how can driving regulations possibly reduce the amount of underage alcohol consumption?

Several practices that were recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General are credited with lowering teenage drinking in recent years, as indicated by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The tactics have included restriction on young drivers being allwed to drive at night, and strict license suspension policies surrounding these regulations. In addition to the driving issue, additional areas of were partnerships between college campuses and the community, and routine screening by physicians to identify and counsel underage drinkers.

According to NIAAA acting director Kenneth Warren, Ph.D., “The downward trend in underage drinking and alcohol-related traffic deaths indicates that certain policies and programs put in place at the federal, state, and local levels have had an impact.”

Overeall alcohol use and heavy drinking have declined among 8th- 10th- and 12th-grade students. One study indicated that alcohol use among high school seniors dropped from more than 66 percent in 2007 down to 62 percent in 2013. While these aren’t dramatic results, it does show statistically valid improvement.

Of course laws and regulations alone cannot be the primary factors, but every little bit helps. Reducing underage drinking helps do cut down on traffic accidents, unwanted pregnancies, the spread of STDs and much more.