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CASA* Report Finds Teens Who Have Infrequent Family Dinners Likelier to Drink, Smoke, Use Marijuana
Date:9/22/2009

on the plate but from who's at the table and what's happening there. The emotional and social benefits that come from family dinners are priceless," said Elizabeth Planet, CASA's Vice President and Director of Special Projects. "We know that teens who have frequent family dinners are likelier to get A's and B's in school and have excellent relationships with their parents. Having dinner as a family is one of the easiest ways to create routine opportunities for parental engagement and communication, two keys to raising drug-free children."

This year 59 percent of teens report having dinner with their families at least five times a week, the same proportion CASA has observed over the past several years. Consistent with what teens report, 62 percent of parents say they have frequent family dinners. Findings in The Importance of Family Dinners V come from CASA's 14th annual back to school survey, National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents, released in August 2009.

Family Dinners and Parental Attitudes and Behaviors on Alcohol

The report found that compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners per week, those who have fewer than three family dinners per week are more than one and a half times likelier to have seen their parent(s) drunk and to think their father is okay with them drinking.

Teens who think their fathers are okay with their drinking are likelier to drink and get drunk than teens who believe their fathers are against their drinking. Teens who have seen their parent(s) drunk are likelier to drink, get drunk, and try cigarettes and marijuana, compared to teens who have not seen their parent(s) drunk.

The Family Dinner

The average family dinner lasts about 35 minutes. Twenty-eight percent of teens say their family dinners usually last less than half an hour, 34 percent say they last hal
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SOURCE The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University
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