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Middle school teacher support lowers risk for early alcohol use
Date:3/21/2012

tiated alcohol and other illicit drug use prior to sixth grade had significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms. This suggests that depression may be a consequence of very early use or a risk factor for initiation of use prior to the middle school years. Depression was defined by asking youth about their mood and feelings, and asking them if statements such as "I felt awful or unhappy" and "I felt grumpy or upset with my parents" were true, false or sometimes true during a two-week timeframe.

"Based on the study and our findings, substance use prevention needs to be addressed on a multidimensional level," said Dr. McCarty. "We need to be aware of and monitor early adolescent stress levels, and parents, teachers and adults need to tune into kids' mental health. We know that youth who initiate substance abuse before age 14 are at a high risk of long-term substance abuse problems and myriad health complications."

Dr. McCarty Offers Tips for Parents to Help Reduce Early Alcohol Use

  • Know where your child is, and check in with your child on a regular basis
  • Get to know your child's friends, and who your child spends time with
  • Teach stress management skills
  • Help your child feel connected with adults at school

Dr. McCarty and the research team analyzed data from the Developmental Pathways Project, a longitudinal study of 521 youth sampled from the Seattle Public Schools. Researchers analyzed the effects of depression, anxiety, stress and support on initiation of substance use, which was measured at five different time points between sixth and eighth grade.

Seattle Children's Research Institute, in collaboration with the University of Washington and Seattle University, will continue to study this topic, next looking at the timing between youth substance use and depression, as well as how intervention programs for depression impact substance use.


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Contact: Mary Guiden
mary.guiden@seattlechildrens.org
206-987-7334
Seattle Children's
Source:Eurekalert

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