Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that young people who show impulsive tendencies are more prone to drinking heavily at an early age.
The research team used computer tests that measured inhibitory control, the ability to delay gratification, and risk-taking. More than 280 young people who were aged 12 or 13 at the beginning of the study took part in the study. The participants repeated the computer tests every six months over the two years of the study.
Results showed that those participants who were more impulsive in the tests went on to drink more heavily or have problems with alcohol at a later time.
The study did not, however, show that alcohol consumption led to increased impulsive behaviour on the computer tests. This suggests that there is a link between impulsivity and adolescent drinking, but that alcohol may not necessarily lead to increased impulsive behaviour in the short-term.