Daily Bulletin: Teen Drinking

Melissa Kossler Dutton

Parents who give their children alcohol to teach them to drink responsibly may be doing more harm than good, according a recent study published in the Australian medical journal The Lancet Public Health.

“Parental provision of alcohol is associated with risk, not with protection,” said lead author Richard Mattick, a professor at the University of New South Wales.

The study monitored more than 1,900 seventh-graders for six years. Participants completed detailed questionnaires annually. When the study began—the children were age 13, on average—only 15 percent were provided alcohol by their parents. Five years later, that number rose to 57 percent.

At the end of the study, 25 percent of the teens who had been given alcohol by their parents admitted to binge drinking, compared with 62 percent for those who got booze only from outside the home, such as through friends or illegal purchases.

However, the rate of self-reported binge drinking rose to 81 percent for teens who had received alcohol both from parents and other sources. The researchers also found that teenagers who got alcohol only from their parents were twice as likely to access it elsewhere in the following year. The full study is available at thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/piis2468-2667(17)30240-2/fulltext.