Parent's Drinking Raises Risk Of Teenage Alcoholism

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Drinking habits of parents significantly affects their children's future alcohol habits, and as well as their perception of parenting, a new study shows.

Experts from the Virginia Commonwealth University drew their findings from an experiment involving teenagers, 2,402 males and 2,329 females in Finland, as well as their parents. The scientists asked the teenagers about their alcohol use and intoxication experiences during the ages of 14, and 17.5.

The parents were then asked about their own alcohol use, and intoxications. Questions were also raised about any lifelong alcohol-related problems, according to HealthDay.

"We wanted to, first, examine the extent of the relationship between the drinking behaviors of parents and those of their adolescent offspring at 13 and 17.5 years of age," said author Shawn J. Latendresse of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at VCU.

He added that they also intended to find any connections between the parents' alcohol behaviors and the children's perception of parenting, in terms of responsibility and environment.

The findings revealed that monitoring and disciplining were the ones most affected by parental drinking, with it having the greatest effect during early adolescence. According to the experts, these two work together to increase in the teenagers' drinking.

"Although these findings are consistent with the protective effects of parental monitoring," said Latendresse, as quoted by Science Daily, "it is important to note that excessive discipline may actually have the unintended effect of conveying greater risk for alcohol-related behaviors among adolescents as they get older and are seeking a greater sense of autonomy."

Michael Windle, professor at Emory University, added that the results "may be viewed as an empowering finding for parents," and will urge parents to seek help, if it is needed for the sake of their parenting methods.

The research appear in the February issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.