Parents who want to help their teens better navigate the world of college drinking might consider a pre-college chat on the topic. New research suggests it will help douse their desire to imbibe when they hit campus.
"The research shows parents do influence a teen's decisions about drinking, even at this age," said study co-author Michael Cleveland, a research assistant professor at the Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University.
The scientists recruited 1,900 soon-to-be college freshmen to participate in questionnaires about their drinking habits. Their parents were mailed a 22-page handbook that included general information about college student drinking, how to communicate effectively, advice on how to help teens be assertive and resist peer pressure, and detailed information on the physical effects of alcoholic beverages on the body. Parents were asked to read the handbook and then talk with their teen about the contents at one of three randomly assigned times, either during the summer before college, during the fall semester of the first year of college, or during the summer before college and again during the fall semester freshman year.
The findings, reported in a recent issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, show that teens who talked with their parents about anti-drinking strategies before they began their first year of college were more likely to fall into a non-drinking or light-drinking category, or to transition out of a heavy-drinking group if they were already heavy drinkers. Talking with their child in the fall of freshman year was less effective or had no additional impact on drinking behaviors, Cleveland said.
Source: U.S. News & World Report