Children More Likely to Drink and Drive if Parents Drink

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Monday, September 12, 2011

Children More Likely to Drink and Drive if Parents Drink

Parents who drink -- even moderately -- may increase the risk that their children will drive under the influence as adults, a new study has found.

Researchers from the University of Florida found that about 6 percent of teens whose parents drank even occasionally said they drove under the influence when they reached 21 years of age. Meanwhile, only 2 percent of those whose parents did not drink drove under the influence at 21, according to the report published online and in the November print issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention.

"The main idea is that parents' alcohol use has an effect on their kids' behavior," study lead author, Mildred Maldonado-Molina, an associate professor of health outcomes and policy with the University of Florida College of Medicine, said in a university news release. "It's important for parents to know that their behavior has an effect not only at that developmental age when their kids are adolescents, but also on their future behavior as young adults."

Although parents have more influence on their children than their kids' friends do, the study found that peer pressure could also have an influence on the behavior of teens. Teens with friends that drink alcohol, the researchers revealed, are more likely to drive under the influence -- even when their parents do not drink at home.

When both their parents and their friends drink alcohol, teens seem to be at particularly high risk. The study revealed that about 11 percent of these teens were later found to drive under the influence during their 20s.

Source: USA Today