A new study found that teenagers who get alcohol from their parents are more likely than other teens to also to get it from other sources as well. Many parents believe giving their children alcohol allows them to introduce them to the drug responsibly, preventing them from engaging in heavy drinking and ultimately, the long-term dangers of alcohol abuse. This study’s findings seem to contradict that belief.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia, followed more than 1,900 teens, ages twelve to eighteen, over a six-year period. In that time, it was found that 81% of teens who got alcohol from their parents and others reported episodes of binge drinking (having more than four drinks on a single occasion). Only 62% of teens who got alcohol only from other people, and 25% of them who got alcohol only from their parents, reported similar episodes.
The same patterns were also found for signs of future alcohol dependence and abuse. Additionally, the study found that teens who got alcohol from their parents were twice as likely to get it from other sources as well within the following year.
“While governments focus on prevention through school-based education and enforcement of legislation on legal age for buying and drinking alcohol, parents go largely unnoticed,” the study’s lead author Richard Mattick said. The study “reinforces the fact that alcohol consumption leads to harm, no matter how it is supplied,” he added.